“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death...Death is swallowed up in victory.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54
"The greater the sin, the greater the mercy, the deeper the death and the brighter the rebirth.” - C. S. Lewis
"This story...has the very taste of primary truth." - J. R. R. Tolkien

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Strange Way to Triumph

But the victory is already won. It is not in that great final battle that the victory of God is accomplished, for the enemy knows his doom is sure even now. There was a moment in an age long ago where the same face as that of the King of Kings upon his white horse did not bear the marks of sovereign control or power or strength or joy. There was a day when his face was one of weakness and agony, a gaunt and horrified face that brought despair to one’s mind. There is no triumph at hand, no unshakeable control in the face of the afflicted Son of God. Yet this is where the battle was won. This is where the victory of God was accomplished. Where was the tide turned? Where was the final joy ensured? Where did Christ triumph in battle, full of strength and power? Hanging on the cross, in ultimate suffering, his body broken.

“Come and see, look on this mystery: the Lord of the universe, nailed to a tree.” – Fernando Ortega, “Sing to Jesus”

“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering…
Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.” – Isaiah 53:2-5
Who would expect victory to be won through death and suffering. Who could have foreseen a suffering and dying Messiah? What a strange way to victory. What a mystery! There is a hidden beauty in this paradox of victory and defeat – a beauty and majesty greater than that of the glorious warrior.

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