I shared the previous posts on “Snakes at the Cross” with you in order to set you up for this one! It’s important that we, as Christians, understand this vital aspect of what happened on the day Jesus was crucified. If you like, go back and browse through those posts one more time to refresh your memory.
To start with, I’d like to share two passages with you:
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)
“This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.”” (Matt. 8:17)
He bore our sins in his body. He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases in his body. As the remains of his human body hung on the cross, our sins, sicknesses and infirmities were deeply embedded in his flesh…boring their way through to his very core. Once they were fastened on, they could not escape. They were there…on his body…in his body…clinging to him for all they were worth, thinking they were defeating God.
Every single device the enemy could throw at him…every thing in Satan’s entire arsenal…was embedded in the flesh of Jesus, as he hung on the cross. Everything. All of it. NOTHING was left behind! We HAVE to understand this. We HAVE to see that everything that Satan had at his disposal…sickness, sin, death…everything…attached itself to the torn flesh of Jesus as he was nailed to the cross and lifted into the sky to die.
His body was a magnet for every evil thing that ever existed or ever would exist…drawing it in to himself. Every tool of the enemy was sucked in. Every single last one. They were there, partly because they wanted to be. They thought they were beating God for good. But they were also there because they had no choice. They were drawn in by the wrath of God, Himself, to be trampled in the winepress of His mighty wrath!
Jesus was snake bait…with snakes coming from the deepest depths of hell to wiggle their way into his flesh. In other words…and please listen closely…
He bore our sins, infirmities and diseases on the cross! IN HIS BODY! That’s what we have to understand! Now…this is WHY we have to understand it…
When Jesus took his last breath on the cross…when his heart beat for the final time…when the blood stopped pumping through his veins…all of the enemy’s weapons were embedded in his tattered body, thinking they had just beaten God once and for all. They may have even started to celebrate a little. After all, the “great plan” that God had come up with for the redemption of man was now dead…
What they didn’t realize, is that they had just sealed their own fates.
““When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.” (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions?” (Eph. 4:8,9)
What does this mean? It means that when Jesus died on the cross, he took a journey to “the lower regions of the earth” to free the captives that were already in the clutches of Satan….all the saints who had died from the beginning of time, up until that very day.
Adam was there. And Abel. Abraham, Issac and Jacob. David and Isaiah were there…Ezra, Ezekiel and Elisha. Samson and Rahab were there…many of the former kings of Israel were there, with the judges and prophets. Countless slaves that served under the pharaohs of Egypt were there. There were farmers, shepherds, merchants, fishermen, sailors, wives, sisters, servants. All waiting for this moment. Their moment of freedom…the moment that Jesus would come to set them free…
I’m going to share with you, an exciting passage that is often overlooked. Chances are, you’ve read it many times when you were reading about the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus. At the same time, there’s a chance that with all the commotion surrounding the death of Jesus, you may have overlooked it…
“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.” (Matt. 27:51-53)
You see, Jesus wasn’t lying dead in the tomb for three days, folks. He was in the lower regions of the earth setting his captives free. But he was doing more than that. I believe that all those snakes that were gnawing on the corpse of Jesus were stunned beyond our comprehension when they felt his body stir for the first time after his death. I believe they looked at each other in total shock and surprise.
I believe they still thought they could get away if they needed to…even as he sat up to begin his journey to the lower regions of the earth. I imagine they probably felt a little uncomfortable as he took his first steps into the underworld, and maybe even began fighting a little harder to kill him again. After all, it worked the first time, didn’t it?
As he descended farther into the caverns, they started hissing and squirming. The weakest of the snakes began to try to escape. It was then they found that the aggressors had become the captives…and the victim had become the victor. I believe the first stop Jesus made during those three days was to the precipice overlooking the lake of fire.
And it was there that he disposed of the vipers once and for all, tossing them over the edge into the burning sulfur below. Once he had gotten rid of all our sins, sicknesses, and even death, itself, Jesus turned his attention to the captives that had been held hostage in the grave…and he led them out of the grave and into the Father’s glory…
I’m sharing this with you in the hope that you will understand something vital to your life as a Christian. It can’t be overstated. Jesus bore our sins, sicknesses and infirmities on the cross. He took them back where they came from, and tossed them into the lake of fire to be tormented forever. In other words, they can’t harm you anymore…
“And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”” (Mark 16:17-19)
“Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.” But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects.” (Acts 28:3-5)
I’m not telling you to go out and play with snakes. I’m telling you they no longer have power over you, except the power that you give them. The snakes are dead, folks. The snakes are dead! That’s why Jesus said, “It is finished!”
Because the snakes are dead…
We experience many things in this world. For instance, things that we call “sickness”. I don’t believe in sickness. I believe it died on the cross in the body of Jesus…and that he carried every disease known to man back into the lower regions of the earth and tossed them back into the pit from which they came.
I believe that what we call “sickness” is actually nothing more than a powerful delusion the enemy that we fall prey to…for even though he has been defeated, and even though we have been given power and authority over him, he is still an eternal creature and his work is not yet finished…but that’s for another post!
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