Jesus Christ: Our Fallen Warrior
Many in the church, today, loathe the militant theme of the Bible. For them, God is love, and there is no conflict. In addition to its deviation from the view of our church fathers, it is also a bit naïve.
Satan paints untold pictures of distortion for non-readers of the Bible. The militant theme is voluminous in content, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. God is the war hero for the Israelites, viewed in His deliverance of His typical, chosen people from Egypt. As the Israelites are directed by God toward, and then into the promised land…it is war. Israel in the land is a history of war. Even at Jesus’ birth, Israel is occupied by Rome.
One can look back to the promise of conflict in Genesis 3:15, and then look to the final chapters of Revelation. It is safe to say the war motif is thoroughly biblical.
If Jesus Christ is the prime protagonist in God’s story, and we have established the Bible is a war chronicle, then we must see Jesus as a divine warrior.
Jesus Christ came from heaven to save His people from their sins (Mt 1:21; Jn 3:16). He was under siege shortly after His birth at Bethlehem (Mt 2:13–18). At the commencement of his earthly ministry, He was doing battle with demons (Mt 4; Lk 4). When the people perceived His divine anointing, conversations swirled about His possible Messianic status. This stirred the pride and passions of the Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees. They plotted to kill Jesus Messiah.
Herod and Pilate were forced to consider the threat King Jesus posed, even though He assured His opponents that His kingdom was not of this world. Man is always playing, “king of the mountain,” with its one goal of tearing down others in the quest to reach and hold the top spot. Jesus was headed in the opposite direction. He was going down (Phil 2:5–11).
Love does not seek its own; but rather, it sacrifices itself for its objects. There is no greater love than for one to lay down his life for his friends (Jn 15:13). Jesus Christ laid down His life for His bride, the church (Jn 10:11, 15; Eph 5:25), because He loved His people from the beginning.
The cross of Christ was a weapon of war. It was a brilliant tactic of subterfuge. His opponents both human and demonic were sure they had secured the victory with Jesus’ crucifixion. Paul’s reflection of the cross reads, “When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him (Col 2:15).” In His death, Jesus Christ set His captive people free from sin, death, hell, and Satan (Is 61:1; Lk 4:18). The victory hymn reads, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ (2 Cor 2:14).” Like a mother who dies in the labor of her child at birth, so Christ sacrificed His own life, a ransom payment for many (Mt 20:28; Mk 10:45), paid with His precious blood (1 Pet 1:19).
Jesus Christ took the fall for the ones God the Father gave Him before creation (Eph 1:4–5). He laid down His life in battle — the ultimate battle that belonged to the Lord. He has plundered His enemies and put Satan in chains, while His Spirit gathers up all the prisoners of war to take them home.
Despite evil being restrained, the struggle against principalities and powers continues in the ever-present spiritual warfare all around us (Eph 6:10–20).
Christ was triumphant at the cross, and the Holy Spirit is triumphant in every elect heart. His victory is ours! We remember that it was for freedom that Christ set us free (Gal 5:1). As God was with the Israelites in battle, so His Spirit is guiding us day and night to the realized victory we have, today, by faith. On this day, we remember Jesus Christ, our fallen hero warrior, who paid the ultimate price to bring many sons home to glory. Lest we forget.
Spokane Valley, Washington
September 11, 2021