Easter: what did Satan intend?

Peter Kirk has written an eloquent Easter sermon on the meaning of the resurrection of Jesus, captured with three “V”s: validation, victory and vision. In the second section, Victory, he writes:

Throughout Jesus’ time on earth he was attacked by evil, in demonic and human form. Eventually the devil thought that he won the victory, by having Jesus put to death on a cross. But he had no idea what was really happening on that cross, that Jesus’ death as a sacrifice for sins was, in a way which is beyond human as well as demonic full comprehension, a key tactic in the final defeat of evil. Three days later the powers of evil were taken completely by surprise when Jesus rose from the dead, and it became clear that they had been completely defeated.

My question is whether Satan intended for Jesus to die on the cross. Peter writes that the devil “thought that he won the victory”. I wonder, instead, whether the devil thought that by torturing Jesus, he would break Jesus the Man, such that he would give into temptation and call down the angels of heaven to rescue him. Because in the end, the authority and dominion of Death are granted by God, against whom Satan is in perpetual rebellion. If God has the authority to grant Death, he has the authority to reverse Death. And surely the entity who had been prosecuting Creation from shortly after the beginning would have been aware of the redemptive implications of Jesus’ death – even the “everyday” demons knew who Jesus was.

Satan needed to keep Jesus alive in order to keep him from Death and to deny him the titles of Savior and Author of Redemption. So, when Jesus was finally nailed to the beams, whipped and flayed, and uttered the words, “It is finished”, I wonder if the devil, Satan, knew that he had ultimately lost, not won.

HT: “Blessed is He who has brought Adam from Sheol”: Christ’s descent to the dead in the theology of Saint Ephrem the Syrian (Thomas Buchan, Gorgias Press LLC, 2004)

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One Comment

  1. Posted April 9, 2009 at 9:32 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for the link. Yours is an interesting thought, but I’m not convinced. We know that angels didn’t understand what was going on, 1 Peter 1:12, so I don’t think demons or even Satan himself did either. Mel Gibson has Satan in Gethsemane tempting Jesus to avoid the cross, but I don’t think the Bible does.