What Jesus did on the cross was the single most important event in the history of the world. The greatest battle ever fought took place there- between the forces of God and the forces of evil. As Jesus hung on that cross, Satan threw against him his whole arsenal of evil- all the sin of humankind, all the sickness and pain, all the grief and sorrow, all the demonic hosts of hell, and finally death itself. The horrors of what Jesus suffered there we will never fathom. But he did it for love of us, to make possible our rescue from the power of evil. After Satan had done all he could to try to destroy the Son of God, Jesus rose from death victorious. And the victory he won there can be shared by all who truly commit their lives to him.
Just what did Jesus accomplish on the cross?
a) He made possible the forgiveness of our sin. I Peter 2:24, II Corinthians 5:21, Isaiah 53:5,6,1-12. All the sins of everyone who ever lived were laid upon him as he hung on the cross. He took the punishment for our sins so we could be forgiven if we truly repent and turn to him. He provided a remedy for sin for anyone who will take hold of it. Without forgiveness of sin, none of us could ever go to heaven. No one could survive in the presence of God and his holiness, if they were still in the midst of their sin. God loves us immeasurably, and wants us to be close to him in this life and the next, but he had to find a way to deal with the problem of our sin. The cross was the answer. Because of it, anyone who comes to Jesus can go to heaven rather than hell.
b) He won the victory over sin. He bore the weight of all sin, and defeated it. Now anyone who will in faith receive it can find victory over sins which have long held them captive. On the cross, Jesus won for us not only forgiveness of sins we have already committed, but victory over sin, so that we don't have to continue to yield to its power. Romans 6:6 says "Our old self has been crucified with Christ, so that the sinful body might be destroyed, that we might no longer be slaves of sin". We can take hold of this victory by faith, for any particular sin which we have not been able to overcome. It may take awhile; the Lord will work with us on that area of sin. But victory will come, if we lay hold of it in faith.
c) He won for us healing of sickness and pain. See I Peter 2:24 b and Isaiah 53:4 (with Matthew 8:17, a quotation from Isaiah 53; `griefs' and `sorrows' in Isaiah 53 should be`sickness' and `pain', which is the correct translation of the Hebrew words which Isaiah uses.) On the cross Jesus bore our sickness and pain as well as our sins. Why is it that we find it easy to believe that if we repent of our sins, God will forgive them because Jesus bore our sins when he died on the cross - BUT we find it hard to believe that he will also heal our sicknesses because he bore them too when he died on the cross. He carried our sickness and won the victory over it, and he has often healed those who ask him in faith. (Healing has often come through the `laying on of hands', by a group strong in faith, or by someone who has the gift of healing, a gift of the Holy Spirit. See James 5:14-16 and I Corinthians 12:9.)
d) He won the victory over Satan and all his demons. Satan and all his demons came at Jesus on the cross, thinking they were going to destroy him. But Jesus defeated them and rose victorious from the dead. Jesus has given us power and authority to cast out demons, if someone needs this. See Luke10:17-20, also Matthew 10:1. (However, this is a touchy area; it is not something to rush into.) Jesus' victory over Satan also mean that a Christian does not have to be afraid of Satan. Satan is indeed powerful - but Jesus is more powerful, and when we are joined to Jesus, Satan can't harm us.
e) He won the victory over death. Death could not conquer him. And now he gives victory over death to all who truly believe in him. See I Corinthians 15:20 and John 11:25.
No wonder Christians sing "In the cross of Christ I glory"! Praise Jesus for the mighty victory he won on the cross of Calvary!