The Triumph of the Cross

Paul affirms Christ’s total victory that “having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Col 2:15).  The New Testament speaks of: 

Jesus’ sovereignty over Satan

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Col 1:15-17).  “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.” (Col 2:9-10)

Jesus’ mission against Satan

“The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” (1 John 3:8).

1. He survived Satan’s attacks

He escaped the slaughter of the innocents in Bethlehem (Matt 2:16) and the attempted lynching in Nazareth (Luke 4:28-30)

2. He overcame Satan’s temptations

The temptations were not play-acting, they were real. Jesus was truly human and subject to genuine temptations. He was tempted selfishly to misuse his power, selfishly to win adulation from the crowds and to worship Satan!

Jesus clearly taught that his way was not the way of selfishness but of self-denial. When Peter, out of human sentiment, tried to discousrge him from going the way of the cross “Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.’  Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’” (Matt 16:23-24).

Jesus himself was sorely tested in the Garden of Gethsemane. He prayed: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” (Luke 21:42-44).

3. He delivered Satan’s victims

He said: “If I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house.” (Matt 12:28-29).

“He … drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.” (Mark 1:34 cf. Mark 1:39).

Then he sent his disciples out to do the same Mark 3:15; Luke 10:17-19

4. He endured Satan’s hour

Satan’s hour began when he “entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.” (Luke 22:3 cf John 13:27). Jesus said to his disciples: “I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.” (John 14:30-31). Later he said to the chief priests: “Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.” (Luke 22:53).

5. He broke Satan’s power

Through Jesus God “has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves” (Col 1:13) because “having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Col 2:15).  All Hell was let loose but he rose triumphant from the grave.

Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ . Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

© Tony Higton: see conditions for reproduction