When the Lord Jesus came down to earth, Satan knew his mission. He knew that the Lord Jesus was the Son of God, and when he saw Him as an infant in the manger, he thought if he could kill Him and get Him in the bonds of death, what a fine thing it would be! So he stirred up the spirit of Herod to kill Him; but Herod missed his mark. And many times Satan attempted to put the personal existence of Christ in danger, so that he might get Christ to die. Poor fool as he was, he did not know that when Christ died he would bruise the devil’s head. Once, you remember, when Christ was in the synagogue, the devil stirred up the people, and made them angry; and he thought, “Oh! what a glorious thing it would be if I could kill this man; then there would be an end of Him, and I would reign supreme forever.” So he got the people to take Him to the edge of the cliff, and he gloated over the thought that surely now He would be thrown down headfirst. But Christ escaped. He tried to starve Him, he tried to drown Him; He was in the desert without food, and He was on the sea in a storm; but there was no starving or drowning Him, and Satan no doubt panted for His blood, and longed that He would die. At last the day arrived; it was transmitted to the court of hell that at last Christ would die. They rung their bells with hellish elation and joy. “He will die now,” he said; “Judas has taken the thirty pieces of silver. Let those Scribes and Pharisees get Him, they will no more let Him go than the spider will let go of a poor unfortunate fly. He is as good as dead.”
And the devil laughed with excitement, when he saw the Savior stand before Pilate’s judgment seat. And when it was said, “Let Him be crucified,” then Satan’s joy knew no limits, except the limit set by his own misery. As far as he could, he rejoiced in what was to him a delightful thought, that the Lord of glory was about to die. In death, as Christ was being observed by angels, He also was seen by the demons too; and that dreary march from Pilate’s palace to the cross, was one which the demons watched with extraordinary interest. And when they saw Him on the cross, there stood the exulting fiend, Satan, smiling to himself. “Ah! I have the King of Glory now in my control; I have the power of death, and I have the power over the Lord Jesus.”
He exerted that power, until the Lord Jesus had to cry out in bitter anguish, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” But ah! how short lived was hellish victory. How brief was the Satanic triumph! He died; and “It is finished!” shook the gates of hell. Down from the cross the conqueror leaped, pursued the fiend with thunderbolts of wrath; swift to the darkness of hell the fiend flew, and swift descending went the conqueror after him; and we may conceive him exclaiming-“Traitor! this thunderbolt will find and pierce you through, Though under hell’s deepest, darkest wave you seek to go, to find a sheltering grave.” And He seize him-chained him to his chariot wheel; dragged him up the steeps of glory; angels shouting all the while, “He ascended on high, He led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.” Now, devil, you said that you would overcome me, when I came to die. Satan, I defy you, and laugh you to scorn! My master overcame you, and I will overcome you yet.
You say you will overcome the saint, do you? You could not overcome the saint’s Master, and you will not overcome him. You once thought you had conquered Jesus: you were bitterly deceived. Ah! Satan, you may think you will overcome the little faith and the faint heart; but you are wondrously mistaken-for we will assuredly tread Satan under our feet shortly; and even in our last moment on earth, with fearful odds against us, we will be “more than conquerors through Him that loved us.”