EASTER: Jesus the Conqueror

EASTER: JESUS THE CONQUEROR

Every single one of us has a picture of Jesus in our mind that is our default.  I say the Name ‘Jesus Christ’ and a certain image comes to your mind. It could be you think Jesus looks a lot like you. It could be that He is a blond-haired white man with blue eyes and a beard. It could be that He looks like an actor that you have seen that portrayed Jesus. My point is… every single one of us has a default picture of Jesus in our minds.

It might also be that when I say ‘Jesus Christ’ a particular word or phrase or characteristic comes to mind.  If you happen to picture Baby Jesus in a manger at His birth, His goodness and innocence may come to mind.  You might picture Jesus healing someone or feeding 5000 people showing He is divine and you marvel at His miracles.  You may picture Jesus on the cross or perhaps stepping out of a tomb and so you are thankful for His death, burial, and resurrection that provides forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

Yes! Jesus is good and innocent. Jesus is divine and worked many miracles showing He was the Son of God. Jesus died, was buried, and rose from the dead providing a way for sins to be forgiven. Yes!  All of that is true and so much more.

I think for most of us the default picture of Jesus is meek and mild and love and compassionate.  Jesus is like a fluffy bunny Who loves us no matter what.  I even saw a church sign this week: “No bunny loves you like Jesus.”  We think of Jesus and we think of Him gathering people around Him and quietly teaching them Godly things.  He expresses grace and mercy and is a shepherd to people who are lost and helpless.  We see Him walking around doing miracles and making the world a better place.  We think of Jesus weeping because His friend Lazarus had died.  That is true, but that is not the full picture of Jesus.

Yes! Jesus is meek and full of love, but He is also strong and loud and full of justice and firm in His path and completely confident in every single situation.  We should not forget that Jesus overturned the tables of moneychangers in the Temple, not once, but twice (Mark 12 and Luke 20).  Jesus cursed a fig tree and it immediately withered (Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 13).  Jesus looked at one of His best friends and said, “Get behind me Satan!” (Matthew 16:23).  This same Man faced off against the religious leaders of the day and said to their face (Matthew 23:15, NIV): “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are!”  We also see what happened in John 18:6 when the armed soldiers came to arrest Him: “When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.”  He is power!  He is all authority!

I would like to put one more picture in your mind: Conqueror.

JESUS CONQUERED EVERYTHING

Luke 23:1-5 (ESV): “Then the whole company of them arose and brought Him before Pilate. And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this Man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a king.” And Pilate asked Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And He answered him, “You have said so.” Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this Man.” But they were urgent, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.”

Luke 23 starts out as the religious leaders bring Jesus before the Roman governor.  Jesus had already endured an illegal trial in the middle of the night and now stood before the one person in Israel who could legally put Him to death.  They accuse Jesus falsely.  Pilate cross-examines Jesus and finds no fault in Him. Why?  Because Jesus literally had done nothing wrong.  Even in the rest of the passage, as accusation after accusation is leveled at Him, none of it sticks to Jesus because Jesus conquered false accusations and the need to be proven right.  He conquered His own will and allowed all that God the Father had put in motion to play out.

Luke 23:6-11 (ESV) continues: “When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the Man was a Galilean. And when he learned that He belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see Him, because he had heard about Him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by Him. So he questioned Him at some length, but He made no answer. 10 The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing Him. 11 And Herod with his soldiers treated Him with contempt and mocked Him. Then, arraying Him in splendid clothing, he sent Him back to Pilate.”

Luke 23 continues and Jesus is paraded like a fool in front of a king who wanted to see Jesus work miracles and do tricks when called upon like He was some kind of street magician.  They even dressed Him up and mocked Him and made fun of Him.  I am sure Jesus was tempted to correct everything that was wrong in this situation.  Jesus conquered His pride and committed Himself not to speak and not to play the political games into which He was thrust.  Jesus is being made into a circus and He has to conquer His desire for self-centeredness and anything else ‘self’ related because He is obediently doing the will of God the Father.

Eventually, Jesus is given back to Pilate the Roman Governor and He is again declared not guilty of any crimes and is not Someone who deserves death.  Pilate is swayed to do what the crowd wants and He hands Jesus over to be crucified.  The Bible shares with us that Jesus was severely beaten before He is sent on His way through Jerusalem to be killed.  Matthew 27:26 uses the word “scourged.”  Jesus was not guilty and yet He was scourged and sentenced to death.  Jesus drags part of the cross through Jerusalem after having been severely beaten.

It is at this point, make no mistake, as Jesus takes one step after another through the streets dragging His own method of execution along with Him, Jesus is absolutely conquering the desire to quit.  Every step the rough wooden cross digs into already bloody back He wants to quit and yet He conquers it.  Jesus conquers the desire to quit every single step as He marches to His death.

JESUS CONQUERED EVERYTHING

Luke 23:32-34 (ESV) continues to descrribe: “Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with Him. 33 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on His right and one on His left. 34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide His garments.”

Do you catch what Jesus is conquering as He says aloud “Father, forgive them?”  Jesus is conquering blame and hate and anger and the grand desire to smite them all with fire from Heaven like the good old days (Genesis 19:24, Job 1:16, 2 Kings 1:10-12, 1 Kings 18:38).  Jesus is bleeding while suffocating to death and conquers His feelings about the injustice of it all.  Jesus conquers the temptation in His heart to resent God because this was the chosen path for Him.  He did not nurse a grudge against those standing by watching.

Luke 23:35-38 (ESV) describes: “And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself, if He is the Christ of God, His Chosen One!” 36 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up and offering Him sour wine 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”

Not only were people watching, but they continued to yell and Him and mock Him and call Him out as the Savior.  Make no mistake, Jesus Who changed water to wine and healed leprosy and made the blind to see and walked on water and raised the dead and calmed the sea absolutely had the power to come off that cross at any point.  Every single insult Jesus conquered by submitting His will to God’s will.  Jesus conquered His desire to do anything else than what He was enduring.  Jesus conquered the feelings of giving up or lashing out or even doing something spectacular which would have been for His own gain.  Jesus conquered His innate desire for justice because everything about this is wrong. 

JESUS CONQUERED EVERYTHING

Do you know what happens to Jesus on the cross?

Luke 23 shares with us that Jesus died.  Jesus physically stopped breathing.  His heart stopped.  Brainwaves ceased.  No pulse.  His body went cold.  I don’t know how you want to phrase it but Jesus cried out to God and died.  Jesus physically died on the cross.  This is a major fact of belief for followers of Jesus and is a central tenet of our faith. Jesus died and even in His death, He conquered something.  You see while Jesus was on the cross He was taking on the sin of the world.  While He suffered and was mocked and was slowly dying, Jesus was taking on all sin unto Himself (2 Corinthians 5:19).  Jesus died and in His death, Jesus conquered sin.  Jesus’ death on the cross paid for our sin and Jesus conquered sin (2 Timothy 10:13).

Philippians 2:7-8 (ESV) also tells us, “[Jesus] emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Now, for Anyone else the story ends there. Not for Jesus! Oh no, not for Jesus!

JESUS CONQUERED EVERYTHING

Don’t you forget that Jesus is all power! Don’t you forget that Jesus is all authority! Jesus conquered sin by dying, but Jesus… did… not… stay… dead! Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God rose from the dead on the third day and in so doing conquered death.

LUKE 24:1-8 (ESV) tells us, “But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how He told you, while He was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered His words…”

Up from the grave Jesus rose with a mighty triumph o’er His foes!  The stone was rolled away on the first Easter morning not so that Jesus could get out, but so that the women and later the disciples could see that His body was no longer in the tomb.  Jesus conquered death and because He conquered death, not only can Jesus offer us forgiveness of sins, but Jesus is also the only source of eternal life for us.  Jesus conquered death and offers us eternal life.

He is not here He is risen and offers us a clean slate of forgiveness with God.

He is not here He is risen and offers us eternal life in Heaven.

He is not here He is risen and offers us a way of life based on His conquering way.

We become conquerors over false accusations, the need to be right, our selfish sinful selves, pride, giving up, blame, anger, injustice, grudges, and anything else this life throws at us because we are more than conquerors because we serve the Ultimate Conqueror.

Romans 8:34-38 (ESV) tells us: “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the One who died—more than that, Who was raised—Who is at the right hand of God, Who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

JESUS CONQUERED EVERYTHING

I do not know how you picture Jesus in your mind or what you think He looks like.  I don’t know how you feel about Jesus.  I am not sure when you think of Jesus what default image is there or what characteristics you immediately think on. May you now think about Jesus Who Conquers everything!

JESUS CONQUERED EVERYTHING

TMB

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