Jesus came to confront and conquer the kingdom of darkness (cont.)
In Acts 10:38, Peter summarized Jesus’ ministry by pointing out:
It is rather obvious, that everywhere Jesus went, He found the residue of all things that were not representative of the rule of God – and He confronted those things, with loving authority, to bring them back in line with what characterizes the rule of God. This is the simplest, and most profound, understanding of the life and ministry of Jesus. He came to confront the dominion of darkness and defeat it through His words, and through His work.
Coupled with Jesus’ life, Jesus’ death brought the battle to the usurper in the spiritual, and eternal, arena. All this is the focus of the cross. Jesus went to the cross, not only to set humanity free from sin, but also to completely liberate humanity from the reign and rule of the usurper. The results of Jesus’ atoning work is summarized in this way:
What Jesus secured at the cross is secured for all eternity. The work of the devil has been destroyed (Hebr. 2:14).
But wherever men’s souls are still subjugated to the devil’s rule, the usurper’s reign still presides. Jesus’ work, in His death, only applies to those who receive it by faith. It requires a submission to God’s rule in order to experience the defeat of the rule of the enemy of God.
As James was inspired to remind us of the principle at work:
Because of Jesus’ work, the devil has no legal right to rule or reign over human lives any longer. Through the liberating work of Jesus, we can be completely submitted again to the rule of our Creator-King, and restored back to our original design and purpose. Jesus came to confront the dominion of darkness and to restore the rule of God once again. He came to confront and defeat it through His life… and His death.
When our Savior came, He came to take back what was stolen, to restore what had been damaged, decimated, or destroyed. He came to reclaim life from death. All of Jesus’ work is centered in the rule of God. Jesus came to confront the kingdom of darkness and to defeat and destroy it forever. In His life, and in His death, He accomplished this purpose.