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And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Col. 2:15, NIV
At the cross Jesus totally defeated satan and all the demonic powers of darkness. Jesus not only defeated them but He humiliated them in a public spectacle before all the hosts of heaven. Only on earth are people deceived into thinking satan has independent power and authority.
There are, of course, many aspects of the confrontation between Jesus and satan at the cross. The most important from our perspective being that Jesus voluntarily shed His blood as a sacrifice for our sins. Because of that we can come into the presence of God knowing our sins are forgiven and standing in the righteousness of Christ, We can now implement the victory of Christ in our lives and in our world. We are not fighting satan - he is already defeated - we are just enforcing the victory Jesus has already won. It is something like the sheriffs evicting a squatter at the request of the rightful land owner.
In any case, that is not the aspect I wanted to look at today. What was satan’s object at the cross? He knew from the temptations three and half years earlier that Jesus was not going to voluntarily yield to him. What did he think he could accomplish by having his minions nail Jesus to the cross?
If he could get Jesus to waver in His faith [remember Jesus lived by faith], to doubt the goodness of His Father, to value His own life above obedience to God or to think for a moment that God was being unfair, satan would have won. And so he threw every dart that he could to try to pierce the armour of Jesus spiritually, mentally and physically. It didn’t matter which sphere, any would do. Yet he failed on every front. In spite of suffering beyond our human ability to comprehend, Jesus remained firm and faithful.
What about you and I? How do we enter into and experience the victory of Christ in our lives?
Satan will do the same thing to us. He will throw everything at us that God allows him to in order to get us to abandon our faith in God, to doubt the goodness or provision of God or to disobey God in some way. The attack may be physical - pain, sickness, job loss, etc. - mental/emotional - doubts, depression, relationship issues, etc. - spiritual - tempted to give up on Bible study, prayer, church attendance, etc.
Now I do want to clarify something. When I say “satan attacks us” I do not mean to imply that Satan personally attacks us. He is only one being and I doubt any of us - I know I am not - are important to attract his personal attention. What I mean is his minions, his workers in the kingdom of darkness. And, to be fair, many times it is nothing directly to do with satan and his workers. Often it is our mind following the path it is used to in our old nature rather than being renewed to follow our true new nature or just the consequences of living in a fallen world. But whatever the cause, the aim is the same: to make us doubt God and His goodness.
So how do we enter into Christ’s triumph and walk all over our enemies no matter who they are?
Remember Peter? He had discovered the answer in John 6:68-69. Jesus had given a hard sermon and many of His disciples had left Him. He turned to the 12 and asked if they were going to leave as well. Peter replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Only One of God.” Basically Peter was saying, “If we give up on You, we have nothing.”
When we realize that Jesus is all there is - there is no second option, there is no Plan B - we will cling to Him no matter what happens. No matter what happens to us, we will hold on to Jesus for our very life.
We do this through, thanksgiving, praise and worship in the midst of darkness, before we can even see a ray of light. When we do this, we have triumphed over the enemy. Spiritually we have humiliated him and laughed in his face - “No matter what you do, I am with Jesus. I will not doubt or question the goodness of God!” It is then - even if our circumstances do not show any sign of changing - that we have entered into Christ’s triumph and all heaven is rejoicing that another victory has been implemented.