Last article we saw how Jesus’ death brought about the forgiveness of sins to any who would believe in Him and His atoning death for them. Now we are looking at the meaning of the victory effected on the cross. But victory over what? Jesus’ death on the cross resulted in His victory over sin, death and Satan. We see the truth of these defeats in the following, among many more, Bible passages:
Jesus’ victory over death and Satan:
14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.Hebrews 2:14-15 (NASB)
The ESV SB comment is helpful:
A human Savior was necessary, because human beings (children) are in need of a propitiatory sacrifice (see note on v. 17) and a sympathetic high priest (vv. 17–18).
share in flesh and blood. Jesus was fully human, as the “children” are and as the high priest had to be (see 5:1–2). Jesus’ death, by cleansing his followers of sin, destroys the death grip of the devil (cf. 1 John 3:8) and gives hope and deliverance to those who were in slavery to the fear of death.
the one who has the power of death. Satan’s power is not absolute, but is under the control of God, who ultimately rules over life and death (Deut. 32:39; Job 2:6; Ps. 90:3; 139:16; Rev. 1:18). Nevertheless, Satan “was a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44), and he does have power to harm people to some extent (cf. Mark 5:2–5; Luke 13:16). The verse at least means Satan has power to work in the realm of death, and to incite people into sin that leads to death (cf. Rom. 6:16, 23). However, the emphasis of the verse is not on Satan’s power but on Christ’s triumph over Satan and over death.(ESV Study Bible Notes)Hebrews 2:14–15
Jesus’ victory over hell and death:
17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.Revelation 1:17-18 (NKJV)
Jesus’ victory over sin:
24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.1 Peter 2:24 (NKJV)
See the ESV study note:
healed. The healing in the atonement does not refer to physical healing in this context (though cf. Matt. 8:17) but to the forgiveness of sins. Jesus’ death should lead to a profound change in the lives of believers, so that they now sever all ties with evil (die to sin) and devote themselves to living in a holy manner (live to righteousness).(ESV Study Bible Notes) 1 Peter 2:24
Jesus’ victory over Satan:
31 Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.John 12:31 (NASB)
Jesus prophesied this before going to the cross. The defeat of Satan through Christ’s death on the cross was also prophesied following Adam and Eve’s first sin, in fact, in God’s declaration to the serpent/Satan following his enticement of Adam and Eve to sin.
14 The LORD God said to the serpent,Genesis 3:14-15 (NASB)
“Because you have done this,
Cursed are you more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you will go,
And dust you will eat
All the days of your life;
15 And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed;
He shall bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise him on the heel.”
See Dr John MacArthur’s note:
Genesis 3:15 After cursing the physical serpent, God turned to the spiritual serpent, the lying seducer, Satan, and cursed him.
bruise you on the head … bruise him on the heel. This “first gospel” is prophetic of the struggle and its outcome between “your seed” (Satan and unbelievers, who are called the Devil’s children in Jn 8:44) and her seed (Christ, a descendant of Eve, and those in Him), which began in the garden. In the midst of the curse passage, a message of hope shone forth—the woman’s offspring called “He” is Christ, who will one day defeat the Serpent. Satan could only “bruise” Christ’s heel (cause Him to suffer), while Christ will bruise Satan’s head (destroy him with a fatal blow). Paul, in a passage strongly reminiscent of Ge 3, encouraged the believers in Rome, “And the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Ro 16:20). Believers should recognize that they participate in the crushing of Satan because, along with their Savior and because of His finished work on the cross, they also are of the woman’s seed. For more on the destruction of Satan, see Heb 2:14, 15; Rev 20:10.Nelson, Thomas. The NASB, MacArthur Study Bible (pp. 313-314). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
Jesus’ victory over sin, death and Satan:
8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.Colossians 2:8-15 (ESV)
The ESV SB note for vs 15 is helpful:
2:15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities. The cross of Christ marks the decisive defeat of the demonic powers. On the cross, they were stripped of their power to accuse Christians before God. (Gk. diabolos, “devil,” means “accuser, slanderer.”) Nevertheless, these demons continue to exist and to exercise power to incite evil, so Christians must continue to struggle with them (see Eph. 6:12, 16).
put them to open shame. This is the same term (Gk. deigmatizō) used in Matt. 1:19 to refer to Joseph’s unwillingness to expose Mary’s pregnancy and bring public shame on her. The cross publicly reveals the failure of the demonic powers to thwart God’s plan of salvation through Christ (see 1 Cor. 2:6–8).
triumphing over them. The image is of a triumphal Roman military procession. The defeated king with all of his surviving warriors and the spoils of war were paraded through the streets of Rome, as a public spectacle for all to see.(ESV Study Bible Notes) Colossians 2:15
Paul wrote Romans 1:4, claiming that the resurrection of Christ is a declaration of the truth of Him being the Son of God with power: Romans 1:4 “who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead”…Here is the full context:
1 Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, 4 who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake, 6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;Romans 1:1-6 (NASB)
We see the irony in the sign that the mockers had placed over the cross on which Jesus was killed:
37 And above His head they put up the charge against Him which read, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”Matthew 27:37 (NASB)
26 The inscription of the charge against Him read, “THE KING OF THE JEWS.”Mark 15:26 (NASB)
38 Now there was also an inscription above Him, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”Luke 23:38 (NASB)
21 So the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews’; but that He said, ‘I am King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”John 19:21-22 (NASB)
By His rising from the dead, the truth is made manifest that Jesus is King not only of the Jews, but of all who exist and have ever existed.