The central event in all human history is the crucifixion of Jesus at Calvary. It was here that the war between good and evil reached its climactic battle, and to the superficial observer it must have seemed that evil had triumphed beyond any possible doubt.
The strange and wonderful thing is that the New Testament writers, far from remembering the cross though a haze of tears, actually celebrate it as the place where Jesus ultimately triumphed over Satan. You would expect the leaders of a new religious movement to keep quiet about the fact that their founder had died a criminal’s death. Those early Christians, in fact, gloried in the cross. What seemed at first glance to be a terrible tragedy was actually the key move in God’s master strategy!
Jesus’ willingness to go to the cross is all the more remarkable when we remember that He was the most sane, the most balanced, the most life-loving man who ever lived. When we read the story of Jesus in the Gospels we are not in the company of a religious fanatic with a death-wish lodged deep in His psyche.
This is the man who rescued the wedding celebration at Cana in Galilee by changing water into wine; this is the man who ruined every funeral He ever attended by raising the dead to life. And this is the man who, in the most poignant moment in the New Testament, pleads with His Father in Gethsemane that He might be allowed to take another road than that of the cross. Only the deepest conviction that the cross was the one way in which evil could be defeated could have led Him to say, “Yet, not what I want, but what You want” (Mark. 14:36, NRSV).
The cross is a place of victory because it demonstrates the justice and love of God. The daring assertion of the Gospel writers is that God turned the most evil act in history into the supreme act of righteous love.
The cross is a place of victory because it deals with the sin of mankind. The cross is the ultimate confirmation of the condition of humanity. But the paradox is that the cross is not only the place where our sinfulness is starkly displayed; it is also the place where God deals with that sinfulness.
The cross is a place of victory because it defeats Satan and the powers of evil. The victory has been won at Calvary. Insofar as we enter into the victory of Christ by faith we will share that victory.
Chick Yuill, This Means War