Samson gets what he deserves. Samson reveals what WE deserve. Samson represents every sinner, each one of us. Left to ourselves, we will love the world in rebellion and end up blind, bound, and in bondage our sin. Unless we turn from our sin, we will die in them, because the wages of sin is death and God is faithful to his promises to judge. But God is also faithful to his promise to bless. God is merciful and gracious—he withholds what we deserve and gives us what we don’t. Even though mankind, even though you and I have cut off our devotion to God, God has not abandoned us.
On the contrary, God pursued us by sending his Son Jesus Christ—the true Samson to save us. He is the ONLY one every born who didn’t deserve it. We deserve to die like Samson. But Jesus comes save his people from their enemy, sin—and the death of Samson reveals just how that is accomplished:
- LIKE Samson, Jesus was strong. UNLIKE Samson, Jesus was meek. Samson possessed great strength and wisdom, but used it to serve himself. Jesus possessed the infinite strength and wisdom, but used it to for others. As God in the flesh, Jesus was stronger than anyone or anything. But he did not enter into the world as a celebrity, and he did not wield his strength so as to control. He took the form of a sacrificial servant. Yet, throughout his time on earth, the Spirit of God empowered an ordinary Jesus to do many extraordinary things. Samson never saved a single person because he did everything for himself. Jesus saved many, because he never did anything for himself.
- LIKE Samson, Jesus was set apart from the womb. UNLIKE Samson, Jesus remained devoted. Samson got what he deserved because he cut off his devotion. Even though he knew he was chosen, he knew God had a mission for him, he knew he was devoted to the Lord—he lived for himself. But Jesus worshipped God perfectly, Jesus was sinless, Jesus remained devoted to God’s will. Though he was tempted to abandon his call, tempted to abuse his giftedness, and tempted to seek for his own glory by Satan himself, he remained true. Samson abandoned his called and did what he thought he was right, Jesus remained devoted to God’s will because he knew it was right .
- LIKE Samson, Jesus went into the world. UNLIKE Samson, Jesus went into save it. Samson entered into the darkness of the Philistine world. He fought the Philistines alone, because Israel stand with God. Though he was empowered by the Spirit, he went into the world to make a name for himself. Jesus, also empowered by Spirit, went to make a name for God. Samson loved the world, and wanted to be like it. Jesus loved the world, and wanted to change it to be like him.
- Like Samson, Jesus was betrayed for money by a close friend. UNLIKE Samson, he was not seduced, he was willing. Samson was captured by the world. His own pride built a trap that he fell head first into. Jesus was not caught the enemy. He knew of the betrayal before it occurred. He delivered himself up to the enemy, the Creator subjecting himself to the creation. His decision was not forced. He delivered himself up to the enemy, silently, without resistance. Samson’s believed the promises of sin, became weak, and was captured by the enemy. Jesus’s believed the promises of God, and crushed the enemy by becoming weak.
- LIKE Samson, Jesus was humiliated. UNLIKE Samson, Jesus did not take vengeance. Jesus, though completely innocent, was shamed publicly. He was held up as a criminal, a rebel, and a sinner. More than that, Jesus was humiliated for the entertainment of many. At his arrest, Jesus was blinded and his power was mocked. Samson played the innocent victim, taking vengeance on those who had hurt him, Jesus was an innocent a victim, entrusted himself to the Judge, and forgave those who hurt him.
- LIKE Samson, Jesus died. But UNLIKE Samson, he gave his life to save. Samson’s death was a revenge-fueled suicide. What was his life had been taken from him, and his final act was not to save Israel by defeating the enemy. He was not concerned with his mission, only in punishing those who had hurt him—he died killing sinners like himself. Jesus died with sinners unlike him, not between two pillars but two thieves. And Jesus did not die to punish sinners, but to take punishment for sinners. Samson’s life had been taken from him, and he died to punish the world. Jesus he gave it willingly, and he died to bless the world.
Chapter 15 and 16 both end the same way, with prayers. LIKE Samson, Jesus prayed his desire. But UNLIKE Samson, Jesus also prayed for God’s will to be done. Samson prayed two prayers—both to save himself—one for life and the other for death. They were both answered. God sustained Samson’s life so that he could bring death to many. Jesus prayed that God might be glorified by doing His will—and God’s answer was to kill his son so that he might bring life to many.
And how are we to respond to the story of Samson? Pride? Sorrow? Indifference? How about repentance? How about turning from devotion to yourself and giving your life to Jesus? You are Samson and you won’t admit it. You are prideful. You are rebellious. You have denied your creator. You have loved yourself. You have given your heart to the world. You have believed the promises of sin. You are full of shame. . . You think you are strong, but you are weak. You think you are right, but you are blind. You think you are free, but you are in bondage. And you deserve death for your refusal to honor your Lord.
The only way you can live, the only way that you can be forgiven, the only way you can be declared innocent, the only way the only way you can be made righteous, the only way you can be freed from your sin, the only way you can be cleansed, the only way you can find purpose, hope, and joy is for you to trust that Jesus died as your substitute, taking the shame and pain that you deserved, so that you might live.