When Jesus was born, men from the East came to Him. When he prepared to die, men from the West approached Him, John 12:20 and following. This scene occurred after His entry into Jerusalem on that final week before the crucifixion. Thus, representatives of the entire earth pressed toward Jesus Christ.
At this highlight moment, Jesus spoke of glory – a glory that would come through suffering death. Then, gazing into the blackening future, He said plainly, “Now is my soul troubled.”
The troubling hour now almost upon Him was indeed a terrific point in history. Presently, Jesus reveals this about it: “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out,” John 12:31. He quickly explains that He is speaking of His coming death on the cross at which time men will be released from Satan’s grasp and drawn over to His side.
What a great victory is suggested in our text verse 31! Let us search into two of its aspects.
- JUDGMENT OF THE WORLD
The fate of all the world was at stake when Jesus died on Calvary. To illustrate this, picture in your mind a civil court hearing. At one end of the table sits the judge. Down the table on the left side is the husband with his attorney. On the right sits the estranged wife and her lawyer. In the background stand the children. All the real estate and material property of the home now hangs in the balance. The dispute has now come to trial. The decision will determine destiny.
That is the way it was when Jesus walked toward Golgotha to die. The fate of the world—all its men, belongings, its style and way—hung in the balance. Christ in Pilate’s judgment hall was not on trial. The world was.
You see, Jesus came to reverse the entire tide of history. Man’s sin in Eden had landed the world in the lap of Satan the wicked one.
Look back into Paradise and see how man was created, Genesis 1:27f—made good and in the image of God. Contrast that with Jesus’ birth “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (though without Himself ever yielding to sin) and born in a stable rather than Eden. Yet, where Adam said No to God and Yes to the devil, Jesus said No to the devil and Yes to His Father. Adam as our representative failed and sin passed on us all. Jesus then came, sharing in our fallen lot and successfully pleased His Father – representing us.
Next our Savior moved toward the crucifixion where He was to face our great enemy Death. The sting of death is sin, whereby men as sinners are condemned to “outer darkness.” This means all who die in their sins, without a personal share in Christ’s atonement, are to be shut out from the light of God’s presence.
Little wonder, many a dying unbeliever has been heard to cry out, “Oh, it’s dark, so dark, and I’m afraid!” That is awful beyond description.
However, for those who receive Jesus Christ, new LIFE becomes a reality. The Great Judge, God Almighty declares everything settled by Christ’s payment on our behalf. He suffered for us. The guilty are immediately discharged – free men.
Satan does not give up that easily though. As we rush from the courthouse (so to speak) in our new freedom, he follows close pointing out the fact that we still sin and are unworthy and very weak. It is urgently important that every Christian keep in mind certain basic truths.
Remember first that the judgment of all things in a very real sense took place when Jesus died. He bought us back by blood redemption. (However, we desperately need the Holy Spirit to make this truth real to our hearts. In this connection, study John 16: 8, 11.)
II. THE OVERTHROW OF SATAN
Our text John 16:31 allows that Satan is a prince. But Jesus Christ is THE Prince, and He has defeated our enemy the devil. Now, our Lord has power over all flesh, John 17:2 and is appointed heir of all things, Hebrews 1:2. All these great facts were righteously established by God at the world’s judgment when Christ died. Justice is now satisfied on behalf of repentant sinners. They may be made safe and rich in Christ. Further, the renovated world and the new heavens will one day be all ours also.
The moment Adam sinned, Satan cried, “You are mine!” And, he was correct, in the eyes of the law. Thus our great enemy stood as “the god of this world.” But he and his empire were crumpled by Calvary’s cross. The Judge could now justly discharge sinners who turn to Christ and receive His blood sacrifice as payment for all their sins.
God’s children should positively refuse to be driven by satanic force or burdened by guilt-feelings. All authority, right and power has been stripped from the devil. The anguish of defeated Christians is so unnecessary! If only they could realize that they are by inaction and unbelief yielding privileges and power to Satan which the Court of Heaven has disallowed.
Come to grips with the teaching of Colossians 1:13, 14. See that the “power” or “dominion” of darkness is now broken as far as believers are concerned. They are transferred over into God’s blessed kingdom. Praise His name!
This all leaves our enemy roaring and raging against us—but quite defeated if we believe and act. Study carefully Revelation 12:9-11. Notice the way to avoid being beaten down by the unrelenting tide of inner accusations.
The blood of Christ has already been shed for our victory. It remains only for us to TESTIFY to it and stand faithful. That unbelief is our undoing! We must in faithful prayer “testify” to and claim the cross as our sin-payment. We must cease to moan and complain and begin to claim and praise.
Begin it this very moment in silent prayer. Now, sing the Doxology. Amen!