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Good Friday’s Ultimate Satanic Assault

Updated: May 28, 2023

Jesus's victory over Satan on Good Friday

Jesus suffered the ultimate satanic assault on Good Friday. This is a day when we remember Jesus’s crucifixion and his sacrificial death for our sins. Yet, throughout his ministry, Jesus experiences sinister encounters with Lucifer, the fallen archangel. He goes by many names, one that is familiar to you is “the Satan,” meaning the Accuser.

Before Jesus begins his public ministry, he is at his weakest, having fasted for many days in the desert. Here, Satan assaults him by tempting him three times. The first is to prove his deity by turning stones into bread to satisfy his hunger, the second was to throw himself off the highest point of the temple and command his angels to save him. In the third temptation, Satan tempts Jesus to worship him, and if he did, Satan would give him all the kingdoms of the world, along with power and wealth. Even Jesus was tempted by riches and power. Jesus finally responds, “Get behind me, Satan!” He resisted his temptations every time quoting Scripture and reaffirming his faith in his Father (Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13).

Although you see Satan’s work throughout Jesus’s ministry, he shows up again in the words of his friend, Peter, and Jesus recognizes it right away. He is in Caesarea Philippi, and he predicts his suffering, death, and resurrection. Peter takes Jesus aside and tries to dissuade Jesus from going to the cross, rebuking him, “Never, Lord, this will not happen to you, you will not die!” (Matthew 16:22; paraphrased). Jesus turns to Peter and says, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God.” (Matthew 16:23a; NIV). Not long after, Satan enters Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’s disciples who prepares to betray Jesus to the chief priests and the teachers of the law (Luke 22:1–6).

After the betrayal, Jesus suffers the ultimate satanic assault; scourged and crucified, hanging naked on a Roman crucifix. The forces of evil brew, waiting on the brink for Jesus’s eminent last breath. Finally, the world and the universe would be theirs forever. John 19:28–30 records the scene, “Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (NIV)

It is at that moment of silence after Jesus breathes his last and the world stands still for a moment where epic cosmic warfare plays out, naked to the human eye, but very evident to the by-standers and the people in Jerusalem: darkness covered the earth (Matthew 27:45), the veil of the temple was torn in two (Matthew 27:51), and the earth quaked (Matthew 28:2).

With a little imagination, you can envisage the angels vanishing in despair and dread, with the land and sky teaming with demonic presence, as they celebrate the final victory over God and his beloved Son. Raging against Christ they hurled their worst at Him. You can imagine Satan giggling as he draws up close to Jesus mocking his exquisite corpse. The Son of God is defeated, he is dead, enslaved to the power of Satan and death, and all light and hope is lost… or so it seemed…

Still naked to the human eye, all the dark forces of evil sense something terribly wrong. In utter confusion, Satan, his demons, and even death itself fix their attention on the crucified King.

Without a moment’s notice, with brilliant magnificence, Jesus drained the cup of his Father’s wrath against humanity’s sin, bearing our full curse upon himself, so that there is no debt left to pay and there is nothing left to give. He took all our sins and evil upon himself, once and for all, absorbing all our sins and our evil into himself so that we could be reconciled to God. At this moment the floodgates of mercy and grace and the kindness of God open to all humankind. It is at the cross where evil and the grace of God collide with thundering brilliance. In a dramatic surprise, and eternal defeat, Jesus hanging dead on the cross, conquers evil – Satan, Sin, and Death, and in victory turns evil against itself and ultimately to its ruin. The slaughtered Lamb wins the victory (Revelation 5:5­–13). And the forces of evil flee the crucifixion site in unspeakable horror. Three days later, the stone is rolled away and Jesus seals his victory over Satan, sin, and death in resurrected life forevermore.

Although this scene is rather imaginative, it’s not far from the truth. The Apostle Paul writes that Jesus “… disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Colossians 2:15; NIV). And the author of Hebrews writes, “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.” (Hebrews 2:14-15; NIV). It is for this reason that the Son of God appeared so that he might destroy the devil’s work (1 John 3:8).

Image: “A Wooden Crucifix against the Rock Mountains” by Eberhard Grossgasteiger.


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