VICTORY OF CHRIST OVER SATAN (Part 2)
God’s Deathblow to Satan’s Scheme
It appears from scripture that Satan knew he was coming into a new arena of contest with God, with Jesus being born into the human race. He was frantic to kill the infant Jesus and incited King Herod to fear and jealousy. Herod ordered all of the baby boys in Bethlehem and it’s vicinity to be murdered, hoping to eliminate the possibility of any other king arising out of the Jewish nation. At Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, Satan undoubtedly heard the heavenly Father speak about Jesus, “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:17, KJV). It’s no surprise that Satan tried to challenge Jesus on that very point, tempting Jesus repeatedly with the words, “… If thou be the Son of God,” (Matt. 4:3, 6, KJV). He was trying the same tests on Jesus that always worked with every other person, including Adam and Eve, that is, through “…the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,” (I John 2:16, KJV).
Jesus continued to baffle and belittle Satan and his fallen angels throughout the course of His three years of ministry. Jesus invaded Satan’s domain again and again, demoralizing him with healing sick people, bringing dead people back to life, shedding the intense light of God’s truth on his dark, secret strategies. Jesus not only cast Satan’s demons out of possessed people, but He added further insult to Satan by giving His disciples power and authority to do the same. Satan’s contest with Jesus seemed to be a continual series of defeats, an unending encounter with futility.
Then one day, Jesus announced to His disciples, “ Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.” (John 12:27, KJV). Now Jesus would lay aside all of His power and authority and allow Satan to work his wicked plan of trying to destroy Jesus. Finally he would be given the opportunity to prevent Jesus from ever being able to cleanse another leper, make another blind person see, lame person walk, or to cast out another demon from a tormented human being. In his book, The Newborn Christian, J.B. Phillips penetratingly describes the culmination of our Savior’s mission.
“The record of the behavior of Jesus on the way to the Cross and of the Crucifixion itself is almost unbearable, chiefly because it is so intensely human…There are no supernatural advantages for this man. No celestial rescue party delivered Him from the power of evil. We can only guess what frightful anguish of mind and spirit wrung from Him the terrible words, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me?” But the cry, “It is finished!” cannot be one of despair. It does not even mean, “It is all over.” It means, “It has been completed,” and the terrifying task of doing God’s will to the bitter end had been fully and finally accomplished.”¹
Satan had no idea that at the moment of his seemingly greatest triumph, when Jesus was dead on that cross, that the fulfillment of God’s word to him in the Garden of Eden so long ago had just happened, “ And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel,” (Gen. 3:15, KJV). Satan’s dream—foiled beyond recovery—Jesus rose from the dead!
The apostle Paul writes exultantly about this in his letter to the Corinthians. “…But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory,” (1 Cor. 2:7 & 8, KJV). Again in another Scripture, Paul boasts of Satan’s defeat, “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Col. 2:15, KJV).
The mystery of God’s goodness and power over evil continues to work in each of our lives. Oh, if we could only remember that “God’s ways are higher than our ways.”² Even though Jesus was dying and appeared to be losing the final battle to Satan, the inscription posted at the top of that cross by Pilate read, “JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS,” (John 19:19, KJV). Though Satan undoubtedly mocked with cynical derision at that sign while watching Jesus’ life ebb away, the words of that inscription became terrifyingly true and obvious to him when Jesus came out of the tomb.