T H E Greatest Victory!
Jesus’ sinless life, death, and resurrection is THE greatest victory, ever! When Christ went to the cross, voluntarily, after enduring multiple beatings that would have killed most people AND THEN had the sins of all the world — past, present, and future — placed upon Him, died and then rose again on the third day, Satan, sin and death were defeated and Jesus gained the victory!
This event changed all of history! Gone was the animal sacrificial system. Gone was the eternal punishment of sin for those who come to Christ on His terms. Gone was the guilt that comes from past sin now forgiven by the Victorious, Risen Christ! When Christ was crucified, a crowd rallied around hurling epitaphs and scurrilous statements at Him. Darkness descended on Jerusalem and the surrounding region (Lk. 23:44) and at His death, the temple veil was torn in two – from the top to the bottom (Mt. 27:51a). Interestingly the veil split from top to bottom – as the veil was some 70- 80 feet high! Then the earth quaked and rocks split open and “many” dead people came out of the graves to new life AND came back into the city and appeared to many people (Mt 27:51b-53). In that same Matthew passage (chapter 27) the Centurion and those with him and all those who were standing watch by the crucifixion scene said after the darkness descended and the earth quaked and the dead rose again, “Surely He was the Son of God!” Then in John 19:32, we read that the soldiers broke the legs of the two thieves crucified with Jesus. This was done to hasten their deaths by asphyxiation. Interestingly enough, Jesus had already died so the soldiers didn’t break his legs. This seemingly insignificant oversight was actually a huge validation of Jesus being the Messiah as Ps. 34:20 foretold “Not one of his bones will be broken.” Instead of breaking the legs of Jesus, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side whereupon blood and water gushed out of His side. This, too, fulfilled the prophecy from Zech. 12:10. After Jesus’ death, He was buried in a borrowed tomb. Satan must have thought he had it made. Jesus was dead. Jesus was done away with. Certainly, the religious leaders and their followers were thrilled that this One who they believed had caused them so much challenge was GONE! Christ’s followers were dismayed, disillusioned, and afraid. Yet on the third day, God the Father displayed His incredible, VICTORIOUS power and raised Jesus from the dead!
On just the first day of His resurrection, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene in the Garden, to the women returning to the tomb, to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, to Peter, and then to the ten apostles! Jesus was alive! What a change of emotion, outlook, and perspective! Now, the words of Jesus became clearer, now His words made more sense! Now, He was the VICTOR! Emboldened by Christ’s victory, this small, fearful, dismayed, afraid, timid cowering band of people literally was transformed into an army that turned the known world upside down!
My guess would be that for most people reading this column, you’re very aware of everything already written. Here’s my question – what are you dismayed, disillusioned afraid, timid, or fearful about – that you need the risen Christ to powerfully step into? Maybe it’s a relationship. Perhaps it’s a sinful pattern that you try so hard to break but just haven’t done so yet. Friend, it’s not about trying harder, sometimes it’s about appropriating HIS VICTORY and power over that which have you busted up over.
This Resurrection Season, I have a pretty good list of things I’m concerned about. Stuff from the outside. Things that are weighing in on me. Stuff that God has been putting His finger on in my life that I need Him to work on in ways He hasn’t had to for some time or ever. I will tell you that I am thankful that He cares enough to do so! I am thankful that He is loving and perfect and desirous of me (and you) continuing in the process of being conformed to the image of His Son – Jesus, The Victor! I am praying more fervently that I will not resist His conforming process but rather embrace His conforming work in my life so that I too might share in His Victory! May it be so in your life and ministry as well!