In the first century, Jewish people had high hopes for the messiah. They expected him to defeat Israel’s enemies and free them from bondage. When Jesus appeared, those around him expected a victorious leader. Even at his ascension, the disciples wondered if he was about to restore the kingdom to Israel. Their expectation was for a physical victory, but they would eventually learn that his kingdom is much more profound.
At the very beginning of his ministry, Jesus defeated the forces of temptation, conquering them with the power of God’s word. He beat the forces of man-made religion with the sword of his speech, and vanquished the enemy of want by creating abundance to feed thousands. When challenged by distractions, he prevailed by wielding love, and when confronted with sickness, he overcame with the power of healing touches and words.
Everywhere he went, he freed those held captive by the enemy.
He defeated death itself when he raised Lazarus, and Jairus’ daughter, foreshadowing the complete victory accomplished in his resurrection.
Finally, he confronted one of the fundamental enemies we all encounter — self-will. When he faced suffering and death, Jesus yielded to the Father’s will instead of his own. Mankind lost a battle in the Garden of Eden, but Jesus reversed that in the Garden of Gethsemane by replacing “my will be done” with “your will be done.”
Truly the conqueror, Jesus won more than physical victories because he defeated the spiritual forces behind the enemies. Since spiritual reality is the basis for the our battles, Christ’s spiritual victories had a bigger impact than mere physical victories could have had.
A profound result of this is the reality that our victorious messiah now indwells us, will never leave us, and guides us as a living master. Because of this, we can walk in God’s power every day as more than conquerors.