The Mississippi Baptist Foundation  |  est. 1943  |  Psalm 24:1
client login


     Dictionaries typically define “conquest” within the context of a successful military exploit as presented by “the assumption of control of a place or people by military force.”  Secondary usages define the term as “the overcoming of a problem or weakness.”
     The conquest of the cross was a victory won not with military prowess but one achieved in love as God “loved the world (and) gave his only son” as “an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9-10). With Easter Sunday just a few days away, the conquest of the cross must be understood within the context of the empty tomb. As such, the cross and the empty tomb overcame the problem of our sin and the eternal death we deserve (Rom. 6:23).

     The empty tomb issues a challenge to science and philosophy to “explain this event.” The empty tomb issues a challenge to history to “repeat this event.” The empty tomb challenges faith to “believe this event.” Through the cross and his resurrection, Jesus conquered sin and death. As presented in John’s gospel (20:19-22), the message that the empty tomb had for Jesus’ first disciples is the same message that the empty tomb has for us, namely, the conquest of the cross emphasizes…

The Presence and Peace of the Savior

     John recorded that Jesus appeared to Mary and that he spoke to her (20:14-17). She reported this encounter to the disciples (v. 18). On the evening of the first day of the week, when the disciples were gathered behind closed doors because of fear of the Jews, Jesus “came and stood in their midst” (v. 19).  Luke records Jesus’ visit with two apostles on the road to Emmaus followed by his appearance among his disciples (v. 24).
     The conquest of the cross affirms that Jesus does not desire to remain on the outskirts of our lives. Rather, he is a living Savior who is present in our midst. The assurance of his presence not only instills confidence and courage but also offers comfort and peace. The lyrics of a simple chorus affirm this truth with:


In the presence of Jehovah
God Almighty, Prince of Peace
Troubles vanish, hearts are mended
In the presence of the King

     Two times in these verses Jesus said to his disciples “Peace be with you!” Realizing that the cross did not have the final word, Jesus’ disciples rejoiced in the presence of the Son of God, the Savior of the world (v. 20). Because of the presence and peace of our living Savior and Lord we sing with Fanny Crosby…


Perfect submission, all is at rest, I in my Savior am happy and blest;
Watching and waiting, looking above, Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.
This is my story, this my song, Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long.

     The conquest of the cross points to the Presence and Peace of the Savior and thereby underscores…

The Privilege and Priority of Service

     Jesus commissioned his disciples with “As the Father has sent me, even so send I you” (v. 21). To what end and for what purpose did Jesus issue this challenge? Clarity comes from the instructions presented in Matthew’s gospel to “… make disciples…baptize…teach…” (28:19).
     When asked to identify the greatest commandment, Jesus responded “Love the Lord your God…” which he followed with “Love your neighbor…” (Matt. 22:37-40). The vision statement of a church located in south Mississippi echoes and summarizes the Great Commandments with “Love God…love people…serve both.” Love for God and others is evidenced, in part, by one’s acceptance of and response to the Great Commission in recognition of the privilege and priority of service. With a nod to Psalm 100, B.B. McKinney penned these words…


Serve Him with gladness, enter His courts with song;
To our Creator, true praises belong;
Great is His mercy, wonderful is his name,
We gladly serve him, His great love proclaim.


     The conquest of the cross points to the Presence and Peace of the Savior. The conquest of the cross underscores the Privilege and Priority of Service. Further, the conquest of the cross reminds us of:

The Promise and Power of the Spirit

     Earlier in John’s gospel Jesus issued a promise to his disciples as “All this I have spoken while still with you but the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things, and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:25-26). The words of Jesus recorded in Acts speak of the power provided to followers of Christ through the Holy Spirit to minister in His name (1:8).
     Jesus breathed on his disciples and said “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). A favorite chorus declares…


Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me;
Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me.
Break me, melt me, mold me, fill me.
Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me.


     The statement by Jesus concerning the Holy Spirit immediately followed his commission for service “…even so send I you” (v. 21). Thus, the Holy Spirit empowers Christians to carry out the instructions of Jesus. The Holy Spirit enables Christians to be forgiving even as we have been forgiven. The Holy Spirit encourages you and me as we remember and reflect on the conquest of the cross and the victory won through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection!

Dear Jesus, thank you for the victory that was achieved through the cross and resurrection! Thank you for your daily presence in my life and the peace that I have in you. Thank you for entrusting me with and empowering me for your mission.  May I recognize the privilege of serving in your name and may I do so with gladness. Amen.