William J. Stewart | Faces Surrounding Calvary

When one thinks about Calvary, surely Satan is not a figure which automatically comes to mind. To those who know and understand the plan of God, the cross makes sense, it finishes the requirements for man’s redemption. Thus, it is hard to conceive Satan lurking about on the mount of Calvary. Yet, if we step back and consider the happenings of that day, we will see that Satan was not only lurking in the shadows, but rather running rampant.

How does Satan affect Calvary? To begin with, we must go back to the beginning. Back to the garden. We have a woman and a serpent. Satan, in a bodily form, ready to unleash the destructive powers of sin in the world. A world of perfection is about to have the vilest and deadliest disease known to man released, and once it starts, no man can produce a cure. How will this spiritual poison come about? Eve will employ the free will given her in a selfish and despicable way. And Satan will help as best he can. Prompting. Encouraging. Enticing. Confusing. Tempting. Winning! Without Satan’s work in the garden, no need would exist for Christ’s work on the cross, for there would be no sin in the world.

It is interesting to think of Satan’s involvement at Calvary, and in the days leading up to it. We are told that Satan put it in the heart of Judas to betray Jesus. Satan asked for Simon Peter, that he might put him to the test, whether he would be loyal to the Lord or not. Satan, working through the Sanhedrin won the trial against the Son of God. He worked through the Pharisees and chief priests to sway the people concerning Jesus. He enjoyed every lash given, each word of mockery, every strike of the hammer and nail. How sweet the victory! How glorious was his triumph! He and his hosts rejoiced together at the death of the So of God, the One sent to save man. What good was a dead Saviour?

But soon, sweet victory was turned to bitter and complete defeat. Satan desired to destroy the Son of God, and he thought that he had, but he soon learned different. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” The grave could not hold the Christ. Satan pulled out all the stops. He employed his greatest weapon, looking for certain victory. Yet the voices of saints ring forth,

Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph o’er His foes;
He arose a victory from the dark domain,
And He loves forever, death He overcame;
He arose, He arose!
Hallelujah, Christ arose!

Victory swiftly faded to eternal defeat. The grave could not hold the Son of God. Death could not have dominion over the Lamb of God. And because He gained the victory, so can those who obey Him. “The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Satan has been defeated. He has lost the battle. He has beaten us as we try by ourselves, but when Jesus stood on our side, He turned Satan’s greatest victory into his final defeat.

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