Have you ever seen a magic trick or an optical illusion that you still don’t know how they did it?
Sometimes things aren’t as they appear. Maybe you’ve see an optical illusion (do you know what that is) and you thought it looked like one thing but it was actually another thing. Or maybe you’ve seen a magic show where you couldn’t quite figure out exactly what you’re looking at.
The cross of Jesus is the same way. It looked like one thing but was actually the exact opposite thing. Look at how Paul describes what happened on the cross here in Colossians 2:
Colossians 2:13-15. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
There’s a lot of fancy language here. And there’s a description of a lot of invisible things that happened while Jesus was on the cross.
When Jesus died on the cross it looked like God was being defeated by the “ruler and authorities.” But actually God was “triumphing” over them.
When Jesus died on the cross it looked like Jesus was being embarrassed and ashamed. But actually Jesus was shaming the Devil and all his friends.
When Jesus died on the cross it looked like nobody could be good enough to escape the punishment for sin – death. But actually Jesus “setting the record of sin aside.”
When Jesus died on the cross it looked like death had won. But actually Jesus would soon rise from the dead and conquer death forever!
At the cross things weren’t what they appeared to be. It looked like the end for Jesus, God, and us. But it was actually the beginning of eternal life and love for us with God. And sometimes when everything looks like the end for us in this life, God is actually doing something that we can’t see with our eyes. On our worst of days God is making us like the best of people – Jesus.
Because of Jesus we can face our worst days knowing that God is doing something to change us.
With Jesus we can trust God to turn all the bad into good.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Learn a magic trick together. Talk about how things aren’t always as they appear, especially when Jesus is at work in us.
Your cross wasn’t what it looked like. And sometimes my life isn’t what it looks like either. Help me to trust that you are always doing something even when it looks like you’re not.
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