The Cross and the Name of the Lord (continued)
That is the nature that is in the kingdom of this world, is it not? For the most part you can divide the whole world into those two sections. On the one hand, man made to feel that he does not need God, that he can get on quite well without God and be independent of God and give God no thought. And that very largely along the line of many preoccupations and what he calls pleasures, the filling of his life so full there is no place for God. Or on the other hand, that more positive attitude toward God of bitterness and rebellion and hatred. In greater or lesser degrees the whole world is summed up of those two things. And it is in every natural heart. That is the kingdom of satan, that is the kingdom of this world of which he is prince. We keep on the focal point, that which comes in between God and man, and man and God as satan's supreme objective and activity.
The Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ meant the destruction of that. It was the occasion when the prince of this world was cast out, when that kingdom received its fatal blow, when that work of satan was met, mastered and overcome. The Lord Jesus through His Cross holds that victory in His hands. It has not yet become, of course, true in the world actually, but we are coming to this in a moment. The fact is there, that the Lord Jesus has done that. And believers into the Name of the Lord Jesus know it and are in the good of that, so that the Name embodies this: that kingdom and that ruler has been cast out. The Cross meant its destruction and the Name is the Name of the One who specifically did that!
How did He do it? Firstly, there was none of that kingdom, that nature, in Him. Oh, how satan worked along every line, by every means, to get in between the Son and the Father, between Christ and God. I say by every means. We have not the record of all the secret battles but we have enough to know that there was a battle going on throughout His life, to in some way get in between Him and the Father. "If Thou be the Son, if Thou be the Son, if Thou be the Son," trying to insinuate a question, a doubt, open the way for a breach. So I am not staying to take you through His life showing how here and there in this way and in that. The enemy was at work by pressure and oppression, by subtly, by foes, by friends, working all the time to find this gap where he could just thrust in his wedge and then he would drive it home and do with the Last Adam what he had done with the first.
But the prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in Me, "The prince of this world," note the phrase, not the devil comes, not the great adversary, The prince of this world comes and hath nothing in Me. He could not get in between Him and the Father, he could not bring about this alienation, this division and separation. He just could not do it. But for our Lord it was a matter of constant vigilance and constant conflict. It was not automatic. The mystery, the mystery of His humanity, the humanity of God, God Incarnate is just that, that He had to fight our battles. It is a theological problem, I know, how a perfect being can be tempted. Leave it! The fact is written large in the Word that it was real, He was not just play-acting, it was real, it was a battle unto blood to maintain this to the last.
You know, it was no small thing, when risen, just immediately after He had been raised from the dead, He said, "I ascend unto My God and your God, My Father and your Father." That is a tremendous victory over the dividing work and power of the enemy. He is still in union and fellowship. Ah, but what that meant, in the moment of His being forsaken by the Father. Yet, that is not the last word. No, that cry of forsakenness was not the last cry, the last cry was, "Father, into Thy hands, Father." The relationship through all is unbroken, He has triumphed in Himself. Yes, that is how He did it. All hell raged, raged on that ground alone. Everything, everything is focused in this Man. satan's kingdom is at stake in this one Man. All his hopes, all his age-long hopes and ambitions are in the balances of this one Man. And the pivot of all is this relationship with God, and so hell raged from its depths against Him on this ground alone, this one ground, "of fellowship with God."
It cost Him everything, it cost Him everything; here in this world it cost Him everything. satan saw to it that He did not have anything here in this world. "All right, all right, if you are not coming into my kingdom and yielding to my law and falling down and worshipping me and putting me in the place of God your Father, you shall have nothing, I shall see to that," and He had nothing, not so much as a place to lay His head. He did much more than that right through to the end; and then from satan's side and the instruments of satan, He was murdered for it. Thank God we know another side to that, but from that side He was literally murdered by satan and satan's agents, He was killed for that reason only because of the battle that He had come to fight out to a victorious issue and conclusion, the battle of this relationship with God.
(continued with # 31)