March 8, 2020 SATAN Wants Jesus to Die
Dear brothers & sisters in Christ,
Who wants Jesus to die? That’s the theme question we’re pondering during our Sundays in Lent. The answer is: EVERYBODY = either for the right reasons or for the wrong ones. Scripture teaches us that death is our penalty, our enemy, & is a bad thing; but Scripture also teaches that Jesus’ death was a necessary thing for our salvation.
Last Sunday we began this series with THE FATHER, because I thought it would be important to begin with the right reasons for Jesus’ death before we look at the wrong reasons. The Father wanted Jesus to die because it was the only way to save mankind; IF there had been any other way, He would’ve taken the cup-of-suffering away from His beloved Son, and accomplished our forgiveness & salvation that other way. Jesus atoned for our sins by taking our place under the condemnation of The Law; He paid our penalty as our substitute.
We need to be aware that there are those who claim to be Christian theologians & pastors who don’t believe what the Bible says about this doctrine of ‘substitutionary atonement.’
(SHOW: this is one book that describes the various different views of the teaching of atonement).
Some people don’t want to think of God as so narrow-minded that He would only choose one way & one religion to offer forgiveness of sins to the whole world; so that IF you don’t believe in Jesus, you can’t go to heaven. So, they teach that God uses all religions to bring people forgiveness & heaven, not just Jesus & Christianity.
Some people can’t stomach the idea that God would be so cruel that His only plan was to kill His own Son. They don’t teach that the Father planned for Jesus to suffer & die on the cross for us because (they say) that would be divine ‘child abuse’; which then gives men an excuse to abuse their own children or families. These false doctrines will kill true faith.
So, if you’re ever reading or hearing these teachings =that God is using all religions to save people, or that the Father didn’t really need Jesus to die on the cross for our sins= get rid of that book or leave that place immediately, because false doctrine is a faith-killer.
The Bible truth is: Jesus was sent from the Father to be the one perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world, once & for all.
God’s one plan of salvation is clear in both the Old & New Testaments. Isaiah 53 declares, “it was the will of the Lord to crush him,”…& to make his soul an offering for guilt.
In John 6, Jesus clearly understands & trusts the will of His Father. He says, “I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of Him who sent me.” Jesus also clearly understood the divine purpose behind His suffering when He said: I, when I am lifted- up, will draw all mankind to myself. He even double-checked with His Father about this atonement-substitution plan when He was in the Garden of Gethsemane. Three times He prayed, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will,
but as you will.” (Mat.26)
The whole 5th chapt of Romans makes this atonement clear with these phrases:
“God shows His love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us….;
// we are justified by his blood & saved from the wrath of God….; // we are reconciled to God by the death of his Son…..; // as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness led to justification and life for all men.” Hebrews 10 says, (by the Father’s will) “…we have been sanctified thru the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
In 1Cor.1 we’re reminded that this word of the cross will sound like foolishness to those without faith who are perishing; but to US who are being saved by faith, it is the power of God; it changes our heart & life. The world is full of those who present themselves as so smart that they no longer believe what God’s own Word says, just like the pharisees in Jesus’ day. Even back then, Jesus warned people to be aware, don’t listen to the false teachers, & stand firm on what is written. The Father wanted Jesus to die out of necessity; with sin paid for, His mercy & grace could be shown to His fallen creation.
The fact that there are theologians, pastors & denominations of Christians that don’t believe Bible truths, & and led away into dangerous false doctrine, is partly due to man’s own sinful nature. But there’s another strong spiritual force behind it. So, let’s consider the next participant in the Passion story who wants Jesus to die; everyone familiar with the basics of Scripture know who this one is: Satan.
Altho, this person might be the most obvious of those who want Jesus to die, let’s not go there first. Satan had started with another plan for Jesus; not death, but getting Him to fall away from the Father thru temptation, opposition, & interference; just like he did with Adam & Eve.
Satan has limitations; he’s a creature subject to God’s will; he can’t just kill people at random = he doesn’t have that power, otherwise he would certainly kill thousands at a time before anyone got to be baptized, or hear the gospel & receive saving faith in Christ. Satan IS a powerful being, but he’s just a fallen angel; he does not have the power to give physical life or take life; that’s God’s department.
God gives life, gives the span of a person’s life; and God will preserve that life, even with His holy angels guarding that person, until their allotted time is done. God is the only one with the power to decide how long our life is. As Ps.139 says, ‘all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.’ We can be certain that Satan does not have the power to cut our days short.
But, as a spiritual being, Satan has a worse power against us. He can throw many obstacles in the way of saving faith, such as temptation to disobey God, & false doctrine to cause confusion & doubt & a false faith. Those are the things Satan tried against Jesus for 40 days in the wilderness; and that’s what he uses against us, too. Satan also showed his power to tempt & deceive people as his agents /to fight against Jesus, /to challenge him, /threaten him, /threaten his followers, /and to tempt his disciples to leave or betray Him.
So, at first, Satan DIDN’T want Jesus to die, because it would’ve been a much bigger prize if he could tempt Jesus to sin; so that Jesus would not be the perfect & holy sacrifice for mankind; that would’ve brought God’s plan of salvation to a screeching halt. Satan is ancient & crafty; / he has an evil wisdom, which makes him deceitful, & underhanded; / he has a wicked patience which was willing to wait years for the right moment to attack the Son of God when Jesus was at His weakest, & surrounded with the most conflict & hostility from the Jews.
Death or no death, Satan just wants Jesus eliminated as the Savior. +If God’s plan was to send the sinless Son, Satan would tempt Him to sin; +if God’s plan was to rally the Israelites to Jesus, Satan would stir up the Jewish leaders against Him;
+if God’s plan was to send Jesus to heal the sick, Satan would urge so many people to seek healing that Jesus would get no rest, get frustrated, & give up. +And if God’s plan was for Jesus to be lifted up on the cross =like the prophets said= then Satan would even try to prevent that by prompting people to mock & tempt Him and say, “He saved others; he can’t save himself. Let the Christ come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” (Mark15)
Just one slip up, and The Lord’s Christ is neutralized. +Satan tried to get Him to misuse His power selfishly -to turn stones to bread- so that the Lamb was no longer a spotless sacrifice; +Satan tried to get the people of Nazareth to throw Jesus over a cliff, and that would be the wrong death, & nullify forgiveness; +Satan boldly lied to Jesus & promised He could save all the kingdoms of the world another way, by worshipping him. And each time, Jesus defeated Satan’s attempt, & nullified the devil’s power with the written Word of God.
And Jesus kept defeating Satan until all the Father’s will was carried out, & every detail was accomplished. He completed all the prophecies to the letter; down to the very day when He allowed Himself to be /flogged & beaten, /mocked & stripped, /nailed to the cross & pierced by a spear until dead. And in doing all that, Jesus declared “it is finished!” …not just His suffering, but The Plan was finished, & our forgiveness was won.
And on the third day, even after Satan’s followers sealed the stone & set an armed guard at His tomb, Jesus shatters death, and gives life, peace, & et.life to all who will believe & are baptized in Him~alone. At the end, Satan wanted Jesus to die to get rid of Him; but that blind evil desire only led to God’s plan being fulfilled.
Doing His work as a human on the earth put Jesus in a vulnerable position; but seeing Him overcome all temptations, deceptions & distractions is a big part of our faith.
As Hebrews 4 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
By being among us, and letting Satan come against Him with all his evil weapons, Jesus has shown us what we are to watch-out for while we live our life of faith & trust in Him. +Satan can be sneaky & subtle to tempt us with a thousand little disobedient things; & before we know it, our obedience & loyalty to our Lord Jesus is so watered down others might not even guess that we’re one of God’s people. +Satan can also be fierce & combative to scare us, so that we give-in instead of stand firm in right over wrong; a scared Christian might run away from Christ & His Church because it’s too hard to keep fighting for the truth every day, or its too hard to have our family or friends reject us for living our life by God’s perfect Word.
Jesus has revealed all the schemes of Satan to lead us astray, and now we know what to watch for. Because Jesus came to trade His life for ours; and because His death & resurrection has purchased our adoption as God’s children, so this grace & truth, & salvation & righteousness has become our ARMOR OF FAITH.
And along with this protective armor, we have received the greatest weapon in the world: the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. For every question we have in this life, /for every doubt, /for every temptation & deception, /for every decision between right or wrong, we can take up His Bible and say, ‘It is written.’ With God’s Word & Spirit, we will resist all devils, and Satan will flee away from us.
Satan DID want Jesus to die in any other way than being cursed on the tree; that would’ve been the wrong kind of death, and God’s plan of salvation would’ve failed. But Jesus held firm to the Father’s will, and, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, ignored its shame, and has taken His place as God’s ‘right-hand-man’ to rule His kingdom.
Satan also wants you & me to die ….without faith in Christ Jesus; or he wants us to live in the spiritual-death of sin, disobedience, laziness, & ignorance of God’s grace & guidance for our life. But Satan is failing, because Jesus has drawn us to His cross to see our forgiveness; and Jesus has baptized us with His own Spirit, who works in us to live a new life as God’s holy people. All this work of God for us, and all these promises of God to us,
we know are true, and we will stand firm, because ‘It is written.’