Christ the Victor: How Did Jesus Beat Our Worst Enemies?
One of Jesus’ titles throughout history is “Christ the Victor.” This title describes how Jesus is victorious over his enemies. But if Jesus is the victor over his enemies, why is there still so much suffering and death in this world? In this excerpt from Real Life Theology Handbook, we explore how Jesus became victorious over the the devil and death.
We are often afraid of death, aren’t we? The fear of lying there helpless. The fear of being in pain. The fear of being separated from those we love. Even the fear of being ashamed before God at a life we know we could have lived so much better. The thought of death often terrifies us.
And because of our fear of death, we sometimes think, You know, if Jesus really beat the devil, how come there is still such scary stuff down here? Why the terrifying headlines? The auto accidents. The homicides. The short caskets. The lonely cemetery. Why all the tragedies?
Yes, Jesus beat the devil, and this is how he did it:
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil. (Heb. 2:14)
Christ the Victor: “He too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death.”
Consider what all goes into our fear of death: the fear of lying there helpless, of being in pain, of being separated from those we love, of being ashamed. Put all those fears together, and what word do you have? You have the word “cross.”
Crucified on a cross, you are pinned up on a wooden board completely helpless. On a cross, you’re in more pain than you can imagine. On a cross, you’re separated from those you love. On a cross, you’re hanging up there, exposed. You’re put on display, publicly shamed, as a criminal who got caught.
And get this: It’s precisely through the cross that Jesus won. It was through lying there helpless, pinned up on a board. It was through the pain. It was through the separation between Jesus and his Father. It was through taking our shame upon himself. That’s how Jesus won. That’s how Jesus beat the devil.
Christ the Victor: “It’s precisely through the cross that Jesus won.”
In other words, Christ beat the devil by using the devil’s worst weapon against himself. By beating the devil on his own turf. Jesus beat death by dying.
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. (Heb. 2:14–15)
When I Die
Yes, we will all still die. But instead of death being something to fear, death is something the apostle Paul felt able to smack-talk, as if he were playing a game of basketball: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:55). Paul was saying, “Death, you got nothing!” So if you have feared death throughout your life, trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the devil has no more power over you. Death has no more sting for you.
Why? Because in death, you’re not just lying there helpless: Jesus has you in his arms, and you’re one breath away from his carrying you to heaven. In death, yeah, there might be pain, but you’re one breath away from heaven, where “He will wipe every tear from [your] eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Rev. 21:4). In death, yeah, there might be separation from people you love here, but you’re one breath away from heaven and the greatest family reunion of all.
Christ the Victor: “You’re one breath away from heaven and the greatest family reunion of all.”
In death, there’s no reason for shame because Jesus took all your shame upon himself on the cross. And you’re one breath away from heaven where you can stand before the throne righteous.
Into Your Hands, I Commit My Spirit
On the cross, right before he died, Jesus said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46). I (Daniel) heard someone say once that Jesus’ words are like a boy standing on the side of the pool, with his dad in the water down below. The boy says, “Daddy, catch!” He jumps and his daddy catches him. “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
For if you trust in Jesus, then Jesus isn’t just your Savior; he is also your brother. Hebrews 2:11 says of us, “Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters” (Heb. 2:11).
If Jesus is your Brother-in-heaven, then his Father is your Father-in-heaven. And in death, you too can say, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” You too can say, “Daddy, catch.” In other words, you have nothing to be afraid of.
Christ the Victor: “If Jesus is your Brother-in-heaven, then his Father is your Father-in-heaven. And in death, you too can say, ‘Father, into your hands I commit My Spirit.'”
Three Pictures of Heaven
Christ the Victor is preparing a new home for us, a new creation without the death and decay and depravity that mars our current world. What will this “new heaven and new earth” be like? Here are three glimpses we get of what it will be like, based on what we read in the New Testament:
1. Wedding ceremonies are a glimpse of what heaven is like.
“Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: ‘Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.’ (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.) Then the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’” (Rev. 19:6–9a).
Heaven will feel like the crescendo that happens in each wedding as the groom finally sees his bride come down the aisle, and then they will be joined together from that day forward as husband and wife.
Christ the Victor: “Heaven will feel like the crescendo that happens in each wedding as the groom finally sees his bride come down the aisle.”
2. Crowded tables are a glimpse of what heaven is like.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. . . . [The king said,] ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet’” (Matt. 22:2, 4).
Heaven will be a feast of celebration joining brothers and sisters from every nation and every epoch of history.
3. Baby cribs are a glimpse of what heaven is like.
“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’” (Rev. 21:5a).
New like a brand-new baby. New like someone coming up from the waters of baptism. In heaven, all things are made new.
Excerpted from Daniel McCoy’s and Andrew Jit’s Real Life Theology Handbook.