Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. Mark 15:37
Our enemy, the devil, swaggers along as if he stands a chance. He believes this because the afterglow of the horror show he orchestrated two thousand years ago hasn’t lost its luster for him. Suggesting to Judas a get-rich-quick scheme, the devil tempted this weak wisp of a man into history’s biggest betrayal. Recognizing Pilate’s resignation in his determination to set Jesus free with little more than a good flogging, the devil stirred the crowd to impulsive indignation that assured nothing less than a full-fledged crucifixion death for the Lord of Life. The battle lines were clearly drawn. Jesus against the war-waging world.
Silently permitting an onslaught of lies, innuendoes, and half-truths, Jesus listened as the battle raged around Him. Solemnly being lead to slaughter, Jesus suffered abusive soldiers. Laying down His life in the line of Duty, Jesus spilled every drop of His precious life as blood, sweat, and tears dripped from His cross-strewn body.
The gloating delight the devil felt upon seeing the broken body of Jesus, however, soon faded into confused panic. Incomprehensible to the lord of all selfishness, the love of God for His people was demonstrated. But Jesus was dead. The Son of God was murdered at the hands of the people He came to save. This had to be a death blow to the Creator. This had to be a satanic victory. The devil soon realized the conquest was not his. The death he had just witnessed was the undoing of the countless hours he spent undermining God’s goodness. This battle was won by Jesus.
Even still, the devil does not go down peacefully. Since the day of his worst loss in his war against God, he has been striving to convince everyone he is not the loser. Into the din of combat, enter the church. Enter the Lord’s Christians. Enter you. The devil has declared a no-holds-barred, knock-out-drag-out-fight with you for no other reason than because you belong to the Lord.
The attack is continuous and multifaceted. He’ll start with a frontal assault, questioning God’s love for you based on the unpleasantness that has happened in your life. Letting that lie for a time, he drives a knife into your back and whispers words of doubt into your ear. Sneaking in from your blindside, he speaks to you in the shock of unexpectedly losing a loved one and attempts to strip you from the loving hands of your Lord. Attack after attack, all because the devil truly hates you.
Jesus, however, truly loves you. The One who won the battle on the cross has destroyed your enemy. He lifts you up in your challenges and banishes the devil. Gather together and be strengthened in the love of Jesus. Receive His poured out blood and broken body for the forgiveness of your sins. Be strengthened to do battle. The war has begun and is being waged at your address. In Christ, fight! In Christ, stand! In Christ, live!