Satan and his hordes sealed their own doom in what they thought was going to be their ultimate triumph. “Death has triumphed over life!” the diabolical legions cheered as they hurled Hell’s worst upon the now deformed and lifeless body hung shamefully on that cruel Roman cross. They thought that by having killed God’s son, they had secured their own malicious reign over Humankind. A recent gospel song tells what really happened:

“His plan of battle fooled them all.

They led Him off to prison, to die.

But as He entered Hades’ Hall,

He broke those Hellish chains with a cry.

Listen to the demons screaming,

See Him bruise the Serpent’s head.

The prisoners of Hell redeeming,

All the power of death is dead.

It is finished!’ He has done it!

Life from the dead; Jesus Christ has won it!”

(From “The Victor” by Jamie Owens)

Jesus Christ used Satan’s very own nature to seal his own doom in what proved to be the master-stroke of the universe. By surrendering to His Father’s will, He put Himself in a position of apparent weakness Satan could not resist. Satan is “a murderer from the beginning.” His own nature demanded that he murder God’s Passover Lamb, and in so doing his own power over Mankind was broken and Satan was defeated.

As Jesus neared the point of this victory, He cried out, “It is finished!”  The word He used was that used by a military commander when, from his vantage point overlooking the field of battle would see victory had been determined.  He would shout out that word to encourage his troops to push to make that determined victory a reality, thus ultimately defeating their foes.

“OCCUPY TILL I COME”

When Jesus charged his disciples to “occupy” until He returns, He wasn’t saying “Defend the fort!”  In warfare occupation is part of victory. A nation was conquered when the victor had possession of its capitol city.  But there were still thousands of hostile troops within that nation’s boundaries who needed to be captured and subdued.

Even the deposed king might be on the loose, although he had lost his power through defeat.  This is how it is with Satan and his hellish hordes. Jesus defeated Satan in the cross, but he is still at large “prowling about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8).

Although victory has been won by our Commander, and its final outcome has been determined, we are still at war! That there is still war means it is possible for you to experience defeat at the hands of the enemy, conquered though he may be. Jesus’ cry, “It is finished!” didn’t say, “It’s all over now.  Sit down . . . take your ease for the enemy is undone!” No! Just as ancient troops would see this as a signal for a harder push, we should hear Jesus saying, ”It’s done! Satan’s defeat is determined! But you must enforce it! Take your swords in hand and carry out what I’ve already accomplished!”

DON’T BE IGNORANT OF SATAN’S SCHEMES

Paul wrote the Corinthians and told them he was forgiving them so that Satan couldn’t take advantage of the situation. This was because, he said, “we are not ignorant of his schemes” (2 Cor. 2:11).  But today many of us are ignorant of Satan’s schemes. Paul tells us that our spiritual weapons aren’t of the flesh, but we often rely on our fleshly resources to bring about spiritual victory.  Paul says that we aren’t fighting against human agents but against demonic powers, but many of us still struggle against people, believers and unbelievers alike, not realizing they are but instruments in Satan’s hand.