Prisoners Of War - Part III
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me…to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” —Isaiah 61:1
The greatest prisoner of war of all time was Jesus Christ. Remember, a prisoner of war is someone who is defeated in war, captured, and imprisoned. Many times they are also mistreated, tortured, and even killed. Satan (Gen. 3:15) and religious leaders fought against Jesus. The religious leaders wanted to kill Him because of envy (Mk. 15:10). He taught against their hypocrisy (Mat. 23:13-29), cleansed the temple of crooked moneychangers (Jn. 2:13-16; Mat. 21:12-13), and healed several times on the Sabbath, which they said was breaking their law. They were afraid He was undermining their positions, authority, power, and popularity.
The trial of Jesus was illegal for many reasons. It was before Jewish leaders—at night—which was contrary to Jewish law. There were not two or three witnesses who agreed in their testimony against Jesus, which was required. Neither Jesus nor anyone representing Him was allowed to cross-examine the witnesses. Contrary to Mosaic law, the trial and the sentencing were not to be on the same day. Jesus was declared innocent three times by Pilate, and one time by Herod. Jesus had no legal representation, and He did not have to incriminate himself.
Jesus certainly was abused and tortured. He was mocked, ridiculed, and spit on. He was slapped, and hit with fists many times. He was beaten nearly to death with a whip that had multiple thongs that had pieces of metal or rock tied to their ends so they tore apart the flesh of His back. He was beaten on the head with rods many times, and a crown of long thorns was jammed down on His head which caused much pain and injury. He was stripped of His clothes and exposed for all to see. Then He was crucified with nails driven through His wrists and ankles. The weight of His whole body hung from these spots, which made it very difficult and eventually impossible to breath. This is one of the most cruel ways to kill someone.
It definitely appeared that Jesus had been defeated, captured, and killed as a prisoner of war, but that was not what actually happened. What appeared to be the biggest failure turned out to be the greatest victory the world has ever seen. In actuality, He overcame death, hell, and the grave by His death, burial, and resurrection. He totally paid the full price for the penalty of sin, overcame the power of sin, and provided the eventual destruction of the very presence of sin. He paid the ransom that was due God because of the sin of mankind. This was symbolized by the Year of Jubilee (Isa. 61:2) when all mortgages were canceled, all servants were released, all bondages of men annulled, debts were forgiven, and lands reverted back to their original owners. This is how He destroyed the works of the enemy (I Jn. 3:8), led captivity captive (Eph. 4:8), and He overcame Satan because He was stronger (Lk. 11:22).
Although Jesus became a prisoner of war, He did not remain one, and by overcoming, He made a way for sinful man to no longer have to be a prisoner of war of sin and Satan.
“Having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them” (Col. 2:15), and, in the process, made a way for us to also triumph in Him (II Cor. 2:14).
He paid a debt He did not owe,
I owed a debt I could not pay,
I needed someone to wash my sins away,
And now I sing a brand new song,
Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay.