The Triumph of Christ at The Cross
As we near Easter Sunday, I thought it would be an interesting time to take a look at the Scripture’s teaching regarding Christ’s Lordship. I feel like many folks will be writing about the resurrection, and I want to specifically focus on the triumph of Christ in His crucifixion and resurrection and then talk about the implications of those truths. Jesus was not defeated at the cross. Rather, He victoriously conquered at the cross. Christ purchased people from every tongue, tribe, and nation through His atonement on the cross and has established His Kingdom, which is increasing and growing. Jesus had talked about overcoming the world. For example, in John 16:33, we read, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Christ encourages His disciples because through His coming death and resurrection, He would overcome the world.
Because Christ overcame the world He has complete authority. He is truly divine, and so He is supreme over His creation. After both the cross and resurrection, we read of Christ saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me (Matthew 28:18).” There is nothing the Christian should fear in this world because Christ has secured our salvation and reigns supreme over everything. We read an interesting statement in John 12:31-33 regarding the defeat of Satan at the cross:
Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. -John 12:31-33
We see where Satan was cast out by Christ when the Lord was crucified and subsequently resurrected. Jesus and not Satan has the supreme authority. To be clear, God has always had the supreme authority and has always owned everything as the Psalms say (see the 24th Psalm). However, Christ specifically gained victory over Satan at the cross and will, of course, finally cast him away at the last day. The point here is that Jesus and not Satan reigns supreme and rules on the earth. Christ not only atoned for our sins by taking the wrath of God for us as His church, but He also cast out Satan. The cross and resurrection were complete triumphs for Jesus and total defeat for the forces of Satan.
The Implications of The Triumph of Christ
Since our Lord has triumphed and because He reigns supreme, our lives should be completely changed. We do not serve God in Satan’s world, no we serve God in God’s world. A fallen world because of sin, to be sure, but nonetheless it is God’s world, and Christ has complete authority. Therefore, everything we do in this world matters. As Christians, we are given victory over death and sin through Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57). Since we have been set free from the chains of slavery to sin, we can now go out and live in the fullness of Christ. This fact means we should live in this world doing everything to the glory of God. Which is why Paul, when addressing bondservants, says this, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:23-24).” Believers serve the Lord Jesus Christ, and so we literally undertake every task for His glory. This truth means the triumph of Christ gives meaning to our lives in every way since they are to be lived for the purpose of glorifying Christ in every realm.
Another implication of the victory of Christ is the fact the church should go forth triumphantly proclaiming the Gospel. What I mean is that we should not proclaim the Gospel with fear and timidity, but with boldness, knowing that it is the power of God for salvation and that our Lord powerfully saves. Christ has ultimate authority, He has commanded us to share His Gospel (Matt 28:18-20), and so we can expect Him to conquer through the proclamation of the Gospel in His perfect timing. If we are persecuted, He will reward us eternally. If we are despised and rejected, He is always with us. No matter the case, we as Christians know all things work for our eternal good, and that includes pain and suffering (Romans 8:28). Therefore, we should proclaim the truth of the Lord with great confidence and boldness, trusting in His sovereign power. The attitude of the church and of Christians should be one of joyous confidence in Christ because He is ruling and reigning, having triumphed through the cross. His Kingdom will grow and expand according to His perfect timing through His power.