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Resurrection this side of the cross

By Jim Killebrew

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[April 21, 2014]  In Genesis 3:15 when God talked to Satan [serpent], it was after the humans had turned from obedience to their Creator to disobedience. Speaking to both the serpent [Satan] and the woman, God told them, "I will put hostility between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring; her offspring will attack your head, and you will attack her offspring's heel." Many believe this is the initial reference in God's Word that hints of the future revelation of the gospel of Christ. God says that Satan will deliver a powerful blow to the Seed of the woman (who is ultimately Jesus), but the fatal blow will be delivered by Jesus to the Serpent.

Fast-forward at least 4,000 years to a night in Jerusalem where Jesus and His disciples had just finished the Passover meal. The night was upon them now, and another scene began to be played out in another garden: Gethsemane.

After the Passover meal had been finished, Jesus and His disciples had gone to the Garden called Gethsemane. It was there that Jesus was later arrested, having been betrayed by one of His disciples named Judas. The sequence of events moved very quickly through that night: Jesus' appearance before a cadre of officials: Jewish high priests, kings and Roman officials. Ultimately, Jesus was led to a place just outside the city where He was nailed to a Roman cross and put to death.

So Jesus was now dead. His blood had been shed, and above His head, attached to the cross, hung a sign that said "King of the Jews." A few people had gathered at the foot of the cross. Most of His disciples had run away and were in hiding. Perhaps some were watching from a far distance, fearing they, too, might be recognized. They may not have been able to see much of what was happening.

The sky had grown dark a few hours before His actual death, so it was likely difficult to see clearly, especially from any distance. John, one of Jesus' disciples was there at the foot of the cross, and Mary, Jesus' mother. Of course some guards were there to oversee the crucifixion. In the deafening quietness of the chilling darkness, death was slowly, but surely descending on that place. It is quite possible that Satan and some of his followers were there to witness that scene as well. Perhaps Satan remembered the "other" garden and the words of "attacking" this offspring's heal. It may have brought a smile to his face knowing that Jesus would soon be dead.

It was ironic that across the city, at the temple, the priests were going through their rituals of killing, cutting and burning the lambs that had been offered as a sacrifice, as a pushback for a person's sins. Because on that hill at Calvary, just outside the city, the One whom John the Baptist had declared "the Lamb of God" began speaking at the afternoon offering time, "It is finished." The Lamb of God on the cross was presenting Himself as a sacrifice with His own blood for the forgiveness of sins, through His death, even on a cross.

But then the resurrection! If Satan had shouted a victory cry when Jesus was on the cross, his voice must have crackled with despair and disbelief "early on Sunday morning." I Corinthians 15:54-55 shouts: "Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"

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After spending 40 days with his resurrected Lord, Jesus' disciple Peter reported to a large group of people publicly on the Jewish day of Pentecost,

"Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man clearly attested to you by God with powerful deeds, wonders, and miraculous signs that God performed among you through him, just as you yourselves know  this man, who was handed over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you executed by nailing him to a cross at the hands of Gentiles. But God raised him up, having released him from the pains of death, because it was not possible for him to be held in its power."  Acts 2:22-24

Peter went on to say: "Therefore let all the house of Israel know beyond a doubt that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ." Now when they heard this, they were acutely distressed and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "What should we do, brothers?" Peter said to them, "Repent, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far away, as many as the Lord our God will call to himself."   Acts 2:36-39

For all those who have placed their faith in the work that Jesus did on the cross, and have been justified by His blood and continue to walk in His Spirit, they will one day be glorified by the changing of their bodies to join the resurrected Jesus as He sits on the throne in heaven. Jesus died once for all, was resurrected and glorified to sit on the right hand of God's throne.

What goes around comes around. With the work on the cross completed, the blood of Christ given as a sacrifice, and Jesus secure on the throne of God, at His appointed time the "final disposition of Satan" will be accomplished by Jesus:

"And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet are too, and they will be tormented there day and night forever and ever."  Revelation 20:10

Without the perfect life, death and burial of Jesus, God's Son, there would have been no resurrection. Without the resurrection, there would be no victory over death. Without the victory over death, there would be no dispelling Satan to be banished forever.


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