by Joe McKeever
Veteran newsman Howard K. Smith tells of a wonderful remark from Winston Churchill the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. After the fall of France to the Nazis in May, 1940, until December of 1941, Great Britain basically fought the war against Germany alone. President Roosevelt did what he could to help the British, but too many voices in America called on him to keep us out of “another of Europe’s wars.” In London, when embattled Winston Churchill received news of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, he knew exactly how this nation would respond. He is said to have uttered, “So—we have won!”
Just before secluding Himself in an upper room with His apostles for an all-nighter, Jesus looked ahead to the cross. The showdown between good and evil was only hours ahead. The Lord knew that awaiting Him were pain and suffering on a level no one in heaven or on earth had ever imagined. Yet, on the other side of the tomb lay a glorious victory. The nails in His hands would be stakes through Satan’s heart. The metal through His feet would be nails in the devil’s coffin.
As far as the Lord was concerned, this was a done deal. Jesus said to His hearers, “Now, judgment is upon this world. Now, the ruler of this world shall be cast out. When I am lifted up, I will draw all men to myself” (John 12). The next day, His last recorded words from the cross were, “It is finished” (John 19:30).
There were many battles still to be fought, but the war was over. Satan was defeated and righteousness had won.
In I Corinthians 15, Paul celebrates Jesus’ resurrection from the dead as a reality and our own resurrection as a certainty. Toward the conclusion, he erupts, “Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” This was written by a man who was in and out of more jails than John Dillinger, beaten more times than Rocky Balboa, ostracized by more friends than Linda Tripp, and left for dead on numerous occasions. Yet, he declares that the victory was won by the Lord Jesus and that He grants it to us.
Here in metro New Orleans, every January hundreds of citizens and schoolchildren gather at the Chalmette battlegrounds to commemorate the 1815 victory of the Americans under General Andrew Jackson over the British Redcoats. No one knew at the time that the Treaty of Ghent had been signed two weeks earlier, ending the War of 1812 with the Americans victorious. Andrew Jackson’s army was fighting a defeated foe.
I can imagine that when the Lord Jesus went to the cross and His disciples scattered, when the nails were driven in and the forces of hell were cackling with glee, when the Savior breathed His last and it looked like all His work had come to naught, an angel in heaven turned to a colleague and said, “So—we have won.”
And so we have.
Joe McKeever pastors the First Baptist Church of Kenner, Louisiana