Forty days ago, Christians gathered all over the world to lament our human frailty and the inevitability of our own deaths, crying out together, “From the dust we came, to the dust we shall return.”
But today, today is a new day!
Today, we celebrate God’s victory over death, and the church proclaims together the good news to anyone who will hear: “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the graves bestowing life!” Today, we celebrate that Jesus has been victorious over our great enemies sin, death, and the devil, and that Jesus has delivered us from meaninglessness and hopelessness.
Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through Jesus our Lord.
JESUS IS VICTORIOUS OVER SIN
Every single human being knows that there’s something wrong with the world, and if we’re truly honest, that something is wrong deep inside each one of us. The Bible calls this “wrongness” sin, and sin has made the world a miserable place. Though sin may sound like an archaic or old-fashioned word, sin basically means three things:
Humans are not what we were meant to be.
Humans bring a lot of hurt and sorrow into the world through selfish actions.
We are bent in on ourselves, sabotaging our own lives and often hurting the ones we love the most through our selfishness. Not only that, but on our own, we’re trapped in it. We’re like addicts who simultaneously hate our addiction to sin yet are powerless to break free from it.
The teaching of the Bible is that Jesus took all human sin and broke its power over humanity at the Cross. Jesus took all sin upon himself at the Cross and put it to death by his death.
JESUS IS VICTORIOUS FOR US
In Scotland, there’s a parable about the fox and the fleas. When the fox is much troubled by fleas, this is the way he gets rid of them: He hunts until he finds a lock of wool, and then he takes it to the river and holds it in his mouth. Next, he backs into the water very slowly, going deeper and deeper. The fleas run away from the water, and at last, they all run over the fox’s nose into the wool. The fox then dips his nose under water and lets the wool go off with the stream while he runs away, well-washed and clean.
I believe this parable serves as a picture of what Jesus did with the sin of the world. He gathered it all upon himself, undergoing the icy waters of death in order to release the world from sin’s power. Then he reemerged clean and victorious.
Because Jesus is victorious over all sin, sin no longer has power over us—those who belong to Jesus. Now we have power over sin because Jesus was victorious through the work of his cross.
JESUS IS VICTORIOUS OVER DEATH
Jesus’ death was not like any other death in history. Some 1,000 years before the time of Jesus, the psalmist wrote, “you will not allow his body to see corruption.” When Jesus breathed his final breath on the cross, he died. And yet his body did not undergo the decaying process like every other human. Instead, death itself met power, purity, and life—and was completely defeated upon encountering the body of Jesus.
For all who believe in Jesus, he gives us the victory over death! It has no hold on us. When we die, we’ll awake to an endless day. I’m reminded of the Chronicles of Narnia series when Aslan, speaking of conquering death, says about the White Witch, “If she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, … She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, … Death itself would start working backward.” Through Jesus’ victory, death IS working backward, and we are made new through Jesus—he who went through death and came out victorious.
JESUS IS VICTORIOUS OVER THE DEVIL
The cross was a spiritual battle between Jesus, the devil, and the forces of darkness. Though the Gospels don’t highlight this fact specifically, it’s expounded upon in the rest of the New Testament. Paul writes in Colossians, “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”
It was at the cross that Jesus Christ stripped the demonic world of the power it had over the world and over humanity. At the cross, he made a public spectacle of the devil and his demons by triumphing over them in death! Jesus is so powerful that even in total weakness, he still overcame the devil and his forces. Through him, humanity is set free to be what we were created to be—God’s people, ruling over his creation alongside him.
The victory of Jesus was total and complete, and he shares his victory with all who belong to him by faith. It’s yours for the taking.