The Devil Took the Hook
"We have a Savior who can save us from the power of this world’s god (2 Cor. 4:4) and prince (John 16:11), the devil, that is, from sin and death. This means that He must be the true, eternal God, through whom all believers in Him become righteous and are saved. For if He is not greater and more exalted than Moses, Elijah, Isaiah, or John the Baptist, He cannot be our Redeemer. But if, as God’s Son, He sheds His blood to redeem us and cleanse us from sin, and if we believe this, rubbing it under the devil’s nose whenever he tries to plague and terrify us with our sins, the devil will soon be beaten; he will be forced to withdraw and to stop molesting us. For the hook, which is the divinity of Christ, was concealed under the earthworm. The devil swallowed it with his jaws when Christ died and was buried. But it ripped his belly so that he could not retain it but had to disgorge it. He ate death for himself. This affords us the greatest solace; for just as the devil could not hold Christ in death, so he cannot hold us who believe in Christ. But, secondly, we must have a Savior who is also our Brother, who is of our flesh and blood, who became like us in all respects but sin. And in the children’s Creed we say, sing, and confess: “I believe in Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God the Father Almighty, conceived by the Holy Ghost, not by Joseph, born of Mary, a true, natural man who suffered, was crucified, died, rose from the dead on the third day, ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of God, coequal with the Father in power and glory.” With a cheerful heart I may declare: “I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, who sits on His right hand as my Advocate. He is of my flesh and blood; yes, He is my Brother. For us men and for our salvation He came down from heaven, became incarnate, and died for our sins.” And John, too, introduced his Gospel with the theme of the eternal deity of Christ when he said: “In the beginning was the Word”; “this Word,” he added later, “became flesh.”
Sermon on John 1:4, 1537.