The world doesn’t understand how Jesus lost for us.
We understand victory. Triumph. Splendor. The cross was a dirty mess and it’s not in our nature to know what to do with that.
If you were a movie producer, how would you tell the story? Whether it includes explosions, great speeches, or slapstick comedy, most of us would put a happy ending on the matter. Just before the whip was raised… right as the crown of barbed thorns was lifted up… before the first nail was struck…
Something would have happened. This wouldn’t even constitute a plot twist, it’s only natural for things to work out in the end. Killing an innocent man is not a generally accepted principal. Soldiers would have rushed in. Angels would have descended. The earth would have shook. Supernatural. Massive. Epic. Awesome. We would have easily accepted these things. But this story isn’t a fairy tale. It doesn’t compete with summer blockbusters.
In this story, the innocent is brutally murdered… but the target was us. He didn’t sacrifice Himself and then pull off an amazing, out of no where, attack scheme that allowed Himself to live too. This is where we break away from the movies. We didn’t all meet up afterwards for celebration. We all didn’t make it.
God’s triumphant plan was not to blow the enemy away. He came to save the lost. This was more of a search and rescue. And as the dust settles, we learn that we are saved through Him. We learn of His sacrifice We learn of His love. And then we realize, He wasn’t just tortured and killed… He took our place.
And so we are left in this moment of miserable joy. So happy that we are saved, so devastated that our sin held such a cost. So excited that we serve someone willing to pay this price and yet so mournful of the horrible events endured by the one so loving. We cheer, we cry, we laugh, we surrender to our knees and tremble. How could someone do this for me? What value am I? And this holy, loving, perfect, one-true-God, He says, ‘this is what I’m willing to do for you… to reach you… to get through to you… to have you near me’.
The world doesn’t understand it because although many have died at the hands of the enemy, the body count still remains at one. Jesus’ death is the one that ‘counts’. Our sins are on Him. For everyone else the price has been paid. Our death is where the victory occurs. And we really struggle understanding that sometimes. We are so used to the phrase, “and they all lived happily ever after…”. That only works by ending the story before its all over. For us… because of Jesus… our story starts to get really good in the ‘end’.
And so those that believe sing that God is a “good Father” and that we are “Loved by Him”… perfectly defining the relationship. A protective Father that loves us and is willing to sacrifice greatly for us. And we, those deserving of a horrible fate, bask in His love for us. We are not any adjective. We are not our professions. We are not the sum of our status’. We are defined by God’s love for us. We are a character in a story told about this amazing triumphant victory. But that victory has to be chosen by the recipients.
It’s difficult to explain this amazing story where the Savior came to lose. It takes time to wrap our heads and hearts around the fact that He came to lose for us. In our place. Instead of us. Because He is a good Father and He loves us. And we are loved by Him. For 3 days Satan celebrated a short lived and greatly misunderstood victory. Every day since is a celebration for us. I think the important take away is that we can’t simply explain this story to others and have them accept it. We have to show it to them.
They need to see the Savior. We need to live like Him. It’s a love story. For God so loved the world… It’s a story that doesn’t make sense and it greatly needs an interpreter. We can live those words. We can share that love. We can choose to be thankful for God’s gift and respect him with our actions. We can show love. We can show sacrifice. We can teach through our choices. And when we look enough like our Savior, the world will rejoice in the gift they find in Him. After all, Jesus didn’t win in the traditional sense. He didn’t come to win. He came to love. He came to serve. He came to sacrifice. You could argue He won by defeating Satan, but technically we can still choose to side with either one. Which means we still have work to do. And its imperative that we learn to love the way Christ taught us.