Jesus Christ left the celestial city of Heavenly Jerusalem to defeat Satan in his own domain. Holy Scripture leaves no doubt but that this world lieth in the wicked one. “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness” (I John 5:19). Satan is called“the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2b) and “the god of this world” (II Corinthians 4:4a). His footsteps are everywhere and the majority of the world is blinded to his control. His native language is one of lying. A facade has always hid his appearance and his end is the Lake of Fire. All that obey him become like him; he turns beauty into ashes.
The Son of Man chose to meet Satan on his own turf under Satan’s own advantage. Jesus Christ even laid aside His right to His divine nature, so He could meet the devil as fair and square as possible. Born an infant, His parents had to flee into Egypt or else their precious Son would have had to use His divine powers to protect them. But those powers had been subjugated for this brief period. “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6-7). The victory that Jesus Christ would earn would never be questioned in Heaven and could not be questioned in hell. It was a legal triumph based on Heaven’s jurisprudence.
First, this deliverer had to meet the legal matter of a “Kinsman Redeemer.” The human family had been sold as slaves and belonged to a usurper. No one could claim them as God’s possessions unless that person was first of kin to God Himself. No angel – even the archangels, seraphim, or cherubim – were divine in nature, but they were created beings. God had a Son and His eternal Son was the next of kin. There was no second choice. The Father first said, “Yes.” Then, the Son said, “Yes.” Redemption was born in God’s great temple in the realm that mortals, unchanged and unredeemed, could never venture.
An innocent appearing baby was born in a cow’s stall in Bethlehem. Angels sang and wise men visited as evil plotted. Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt with the Messiah in His baby wrappings. When the coast was clear, they returned to Nazereth and Mary hid these things in her heart. The Bible says, “Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). That very statement was protection until the time would come for Jesus to begin His role. Baptized by John, the Holy Spirit led Him into the wilderness while Satan sought His whereabouts.
After forty days without food – fasting and having fellowship with His Father – Satan found Him and began his evil design. Weakened to the point of complete exhaustion, He was badgered by the enemy. But, with perfect victory over Satan’s incredible efforts, angels came to strengthen Him. Satan had been allowed to remove Him to a mountain — even to the temple complex — and to offer Jesus Christ a compromising route to be the King of Kings. It was a powerful victory for the Son of God. The victory of His entire earthly ministry flowed out of this miracle. His ministry was one crisis after another with Satan’s defeat in every experience.
A night in the Garden of Gethsemane brought the Son of God face to face with the dark powers of sin. This God/man had to take every expression of the powers of sin into His own body and soul and atone them to the Father. Broken and consumed with the task, “… he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). Sinless flesh suddenly became a substitute for sinful flesh and even then it must be defeated without reaching back to His divine possessions. That Heavenly nature of His Divine Sonship must wait past the cross and the tomb for the sunburst on the morning of triumph.
In the courtyard of His enemies, His body became a substitute for disease and destruction. They made Him a whipping post, but they could not break Him. The Roman soldiers came close to a total destruction of the temple in which He had chosen to dwell. He never spoke an unkind word because this was another defeat for Satan. All sickness is but death fulfilling the forbidden fruits of human sin. The Son of God was unleashing the virtue of a perfect resurrection and a secondary provision of divine healing.
Jesus said, “the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me” (John 14:30). If Satan could have known what Calvary was all about, he would never have challenged the Son of God to this epic battle. Paul clearly stated this truth, “Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (I Corinthians 2:8). Three hours on the cross were given for Christ to bear the darkest load in absolute blackness. As it ended, He cried, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34). Then, He declared the victory by saying,“It is finished.” Quickly, He slipped down to Upper Hell where th e righteous dead were held in death’s prison.
Before He arose, He had to level the last great stronghold of sin and Satan. He preached for three days and three nights. He was close enough to hell fire that the damned could hear the shouting in Abraham’s bosom. Then, He led a march right by a borrowed tomb where a body that could not decay was awaiting its Divine occupant. He arose the victor over every dominion of His vanquished foe. Now, He awaits the last battle of His saints. He will be back shortly to finish the task of Satan’s well-won defeat.
Joseph R. Chambers