JESUS PREVAILED 

      It has been Satan's intent from the beginning, starting in the Garden of Eden, to prevent Jesus' birth. Having failed in that, his intent became to derail Jesus' plan to be the LAMB OF GOD, as John the Baptist had declared Him to be in John 1:29.
      The very first promise we have of REDEMPTION from our sins, was is in the Garden of Eden, when God pronounced a curse on the serpent (Satan), Genesis 3:15, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your HEAD, and you shall bruise His heel." (NKJV). The only way to kill a serpent is to strike him on the head, which is what Jesus had done, when He cried out on the cross, "It is finished!" (John 19:30 NKJV)
      Lucifer, that great dragon, Satan, never ceased trying to prevent the Cross of Calvary taking place. His many attempts through out the Old Testament only proved total failures in his unending efforts to out wit God. Among them was an attempt to eliminate Joseph, which backfired in Satan's face. God saved Lot by having him removed from Sodom and Gomorrah by His angels, before consuming it with fire from heaven. Also, God saved Rahab from Jericho before its destruction.
      Now we move to the New Testament, where we find Satan doing all in his power to prevent the birth of Jesus. First, he tries to have her and the Baby stoned prior to birth as she is pregnant of the Holy Spirit while betroth to Joseph. Then he tried to have her to abort the Baby by miscarriage by bringing about her having to travel to Bethlehem, (Luke 2:1-3) through very rough country. That did not turn out as Satan had hoped so he would cause the Baby to die, he imagined, by some dread disease, causing the only place for the family to lodge in a filthy stable with animals. (Luke 2:7) I will hasten here to say no scripture says there were animals here with Joseph and Mary when Jesus was born. However, Luke does mention a MANGER. Some translations says feeding trough. To me that speaks of animals being present. It is fitting that Jesus was born in a stable and laid in a feeding trough, since John called Him the LAMB OF GOD, as Lambs were the animal offered for sins.
      Now moving on with Satan's tactics, Satan tried to buy Jesus off, by offering Him all the kingdoms of the world short of His death. (Matthew 4:8-10). True to all the prophecies, Jesus did not succumb to Satan's severest temptations.
      Jesus came into the world as ALL GOD and ALL MAN. Because he was all God he could heal the sick and raise the dead and walk on water. Also, because he was all man, he tired, thirst for water and became hungry. Jesus also had fear. In the Garden, during His prayer, Satan caused Him to become so overcome with fear that, ". . . His sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground." (Luke 22:44) 
      There is a thought beginning to rise among some theologians that in verse 42, Jesus prayed, "Father . . take this cup from Me . . ", that He was asking God if there was any way He could by-pass the cross. I do not believe for a minute that Jesus was praying this at all. Jesus had said, ". . My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again . . ." (John 10:17,19 NKJV)
      In Luke, it appears that Satan is causing Jesus' anxiety to bring about a condition now known as HEMATOHIDROSIS. Only a very few cases of this rare condition have been read about in literature. Leonardo Da Vince describes a soldier who sweated blood before battle. For those who are curious see: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2810702/
      I do believe, while He was sweating blood, Jesus was NOT praying for God to take away the cross. His plea "TAKE THIS CUP AWAY FROM ME", was asking God to save Him from dying in the Garden from loss of blood, but that He would make it to the cross. Christ's death in the Garden would have made void prophecies such as Zechariah 12:10, Psalm 16:8-11, Isaiah 53:3-6, as well as numerous other prophecies. Also it would nullify God's promise that "He will crush your head." The worst scenario is this - In Matthew 25, starting with verse 31, Jesus is foretelling how The Son of Man will judge the nations, by setting the sheep on the right and the goats to the left. Had Jesus not died on the cross, there would be only goats and no sheep!! Plus the four Gospel accounts and the Epistles would have never been written.
      Finally, Satan, desperate to stop the cross, attempted a rescue effort to save Jesus, by causing Pilates wife to have troubling dreams about Jesus. (Matthew 27:19) But the roaring crowd drowned out her voice.
      Jesus had irritated the Jews when He predicted, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I raise it up." (John 2:19) NKJV. There can be no denying that Jesus died on the cross. The Romans who were responsible for the execution, were professionals. They had crucified many before Jesus, and many more after Him. They understood when a man was dead, and understood the nature of death, because it was part of their job.

      The Passover season was fast approaching. Therefore the Roman soldiers came to break the legs of Jesus and the two thieves, to hasten their death. When they saw that He was already dead they didn't break His legs (John 19:34). When the soldier pierced His side, it was evident that the blood and water had begun to separate in His body (John 19:34) I use here an appropriate quote from J. Glentworth Butler, D.D: 

                "The heavens knew Him, and forthwith sent out a star and a company 
                of angels as to sing for Him at His birth -
                 The sea knew Him, and made itself a way to be trodden by His feet - 
                 the earth knew Him as it trembled at His dying - 
                 the sun knew Him as it hid its rays of light - 
                 the rocks knew Him and they were split - 
                 Hades knew him  and gave up the dead it had received - 
                  though the elements knew Him, the Jews, harder than rocks did not." 

      The death of Jesus Christ is a type of the PASCHAL LAMB, offered at the Feast of Passover, Exodus 12:46. May we ever look to Him Who shed His blood from His wounded side, that we might be justified and sanctified in His name.

      Just a thought across the garden gate by Don Brown          

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                                                                                                        Updated March 24, 2018

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