If you lived in a village in France during either World War, your attention would be riveted on the war as it related to where you were. How close is the fighting? Are you in danger of being bombed or invaded? How is the food supply? If you have to evacuate, where will you go? These kinds of questions would characterize your daily existence.
But suppose you are from that village and serving in a war room in Paris. There on the table in front of you are the charts and maps detailing the activities on the various fronts. You can see the troop formations and movements of the different powers. No matter what your clearance might be, you can piece together at least some sense of the strategy being employed. And you understand there is a relationship between what is on the maps and charts and what is happening in your village.
This is the way we need to think about the cross. We need to see it in its entire scope—in all its breadth, depth and richness. We tend to look at the cross and think about how it relates to our village (mankind). This is certainly not incorrect, just incomplete. It is very much like thinking only of your village in the war and not seeing the bigger picture.
Paul will tell us that at the cross not only was our village gloriously forgiven, but the enemy forces were taken down, their power broken, and the flag of victory raised (Colossians 2:13-15). These would be the same spiritual forces that we battle with today (Ephesians 6:10ff). Although there is still fighting going on, the outcome has already been determined—they have been defeated by Jesus.
How did this happen? It occurred as a result of His joyful submission to His Father in all things. He lived a life of singular devotion to God that culminated in a criminal’s death on a Roman cross—a death orchestrated by His own people. It was nonetheless embraced and endured by Him because of His trust in God. The cross then becomes the supreme expression of a faithful, God-exalting life. God gave to His Son power, authority and opportunity and He faithfully used these in honorable ways. He lived the life that God had in mind when He created man to represent (image) him on earth. He lived as we could and should.
He becomes the second Adam, who unlike the first one, brings us life rather than death. He meets the intent of the law, models the character of God, and makes peace by offering His life of wholeness in place of our sin-fragmented existence. This is what satisfies God and brings redemption.
And with this, the enemy is struck a fatal, never-to-be-recovered-from blow. The death throes of darkness are still powerful and must be resisted, but make no mistake about it—they are the last gasps of a dying tyrant.
Resurrection Day is coming!