Unclean spirits stir. Demonic thrones and dominions gather. Cosmic powers over this present darkness come to attention. And the devil himself, ready to devour and destroy, ignites his fiery darts and stretches his legs for the lion’s prowl.
As All Hallows’ Eve draws nigh, the spiritual forces of evil align, and Satan prepares his hordes for the party of the year — that grand harvest festival, celebration of darkness and death, when they pretend to be their strongest.
Halloween is almost here. And so is their final defeat. Jesus haunts their Halloween.
One Little Word
Even as his adversaries marshal their best, they can’t escape serving his purposes. It is all through him and for him. “By him all things were created, in heaven and on earth . . . whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things were created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16). Jesus haunts their Halloween.
No demon lurks apart from his will. No spirit pounces apart from his plan. He is sovereign over even the movements of evil minds. “God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled” (Revelation 17:17).
Luther nailed it — one little word shall fell them. Jesus haunts their Halloween.
He Put Them to Shame
Jesus came to conquer fear, to truly haunt whatever haunts us. “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). He stooped to share in our flesh and blood “that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery” (Hebrews 2:14–15).
Every Single Inch
“Take heart; I have overcome the world,” he says (John 16:33). Every inch of this universe — every single one — is his. And that includes All Hallows’ Eve and all its worst, and all the pretense. He is the one who empowers us to “withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm” (Ephesians 6:13). And he says that just as he squashed the Serpent’s skull with his heel, so “the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Romans 16:20). Our feet. Get your boots.
Jesus haunts their Halloween. And so too he must haunt ours.
Dressed Up for Real
When Jesus haunts our Halloween, we pour in the extra energy and creativity to capitalize on this opportunity to meet new neighbors and go deep with the old — whether we’re ushering our kids from house to house or leaving our lights on and giving out the best candy.
Sent into the Harvest
When Jesus haunts our Halloween, we look on the cheekiest carousers with compassion — as “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). On this night, as much as any, “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few,” and so we “pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37–38). And we walk in faith to be those workers.
Freed from Fear
When Jesus haunts our Halloween, we do not flee, but go on the offensive. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). We don’t retreat, but resist — with level heads and open eyes. “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith” (1 Peter 5:8–9). We engage, with care and with courage.
Staring Death in the Face
Jesus has promised his gospel will advance (Matthew 24:14). He will build his church, and the gates of hell will not prevail (Matthew 16:18). And so when Jesus haunts our Halloween, we join the triumphant anthem:
“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:55–57)