The Word In Motion:
You know that scene in the movie where you know that something bad is going to happen? You are watching the main character, our hero, driving down the road, heading to see his family. Then you see another car heading towards him, driving fast and with obvious intent to harm.
You keep watching as the director of the movie shows clips of our hero just driving down the road excited with the prospect of seeing his family; and clips of the other driver, the killer careening down the road fixated with his intent to kill. We go back and forth between clips. Each one bringing us closer and closer to that inevitable moment.
The suspense is building. Our hero sees the other driver, but he can’t change his course. Then, it happens. The moment when they collide. We watch in horror as our hero is killed. The killer has fulfilled his goal...our hero is dead.
Yet, just before the collision, the director revealed something. It was in that moment where everything goes into slow motion and at the point of impact the music stops, and for a second the filming pauses as we see a smile on our hero's face, the killer sees it and his expression turns from victory to confusion. Then the scene goes back to full speed, the collision resumes, and death.
We are shocked and angry. Sadness and anger come over us in waves as we see our hero is dead and the killer has escaped unharmed... Who is directing this movie? What has he done? What is he thinking? He has killed off the hero!
Then, we remember the smile. What was that about?
It causes us to wonder and reflect. To start imagining other outcomes. What if he isn’t dead. What if this was the plan all along? What if…? But, he was buried, we watched the funeral. We start remembering other elements in the story, hoping something would happen that reveals our hero is not really dead?
Why the smile?
We have a true story, not a movie, a story that really happened like this. The main character, Jesus came to seek and save the lost. His whole desire was to spend time with his family, to reveal his love for us. The other driver, the Devil, excited by a plan to kill Jesus, with such an evil intent that it couldn’t be quenched.
The collision: Jesus is condemned, beaten, scorned, ridiculed, and wounded. Nailed to a cross, pierced in his side, suffocating, and then… death. The devil fulfilled his purpose...Jesus is dead.
Yet…right before death, in that moment when all stood still, the devil glimpsed something. A smile? For a brief second, he is confused…then the scene resumes, Jesus draws his last breath. “It is finished.”
Yet…why the smile?
What if he wasn’t really dead. What if this was the plan all along? What if…? But Jesus is dead. They buried him, and they mourned.
Kill Jesus? Who is directing this story anyways? The director is Jesus’ father, God Most High. He’s the author and finisher of this story. And this story is not done. There is still more to be revealed. This is only the beginning - not the end. It is setting the stage for the biggest reveal in all of history. An ending that will change the course of history for all time!
Remember the smile? It was a smile of secrecy. Jesus knew something the devil didn’t. Yes, Jesus is dead …but the devil didn’t win.
For God had a secret plot in the story.
He had a plan that had been in the works since before time. He knew that at price had to be paid for sin. The penalty for sin is death and a pure sacrifice had to be made for it.
Jesus, who was without sin, had to die to pay the debt, once and for all, for our sin. Jesus willingly gave his life for us. He came to seek and save the lost, to spend time with his family, to reveal the depth of his and God’s love for us.
Jesus had to die. His death made the way for our forgiveness. This is real love that He gave his life for us. A sacrifice to take away our sin. God was making a way to bring us to himself through Jesus’ death, no longer counting our sins against us. He died for our sins, our choices, once and for all. A single sacrifice for all sin, good for all time. He paid the debt.
Through His death, He forgave all our sins, having canceled the charge which stood against us and condemned us. He has taken it away and nailed it to the cross. His death rescued us from the kingdom of darkness, purchased our freedom, and forgave our sins.
He is our hero who chose to die. His death and burial were the plan.
So why the smile?
The final outcome is why he smiled. The part of the plan the killer knew nothing about. Our Hero's victory!
See the devil thought he had won. He killed our hero. He killed the threat to his authority. He killed Jesus, the son of God! He was so proud of what he did that he didn't even give that smile a second glance. He is in charge now. He is in control. He celebrated his victory.
BUT...He should have given that smile a second glance.
Yes, Jesus died. Yes, He was buried, and they mourned. Yes, the sky grew dark and the earth trembled for the son of God was dead... 3 days of sorrow.
3 days? Wait what? Why only 3 days. Our hero is dead.
Wait for it! Part 2! You know it. This is the part that causes the hair on our arms to stand up straight, our hearts to pound in anticipation...
God raised Him from the dead. Jesus is alive! He has risen! He is back with all power, with all authority, all dominion over life and death. Our Hero. Our Savior!
He stormed the gates of hell. He revealed himself to the devil in all his glory and declared I AM ALIVE! Death is defeated! Your dominion is over. My kingdom and my authority reigns.
He is alive!! So SMILE!
The Living Word:
And having disarmed the powers and authorities of this world, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Colossians 2:13-15
Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 15:55-57
Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit. I Peter 3:18
He has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. Colossians 1:13-14
For the wages of sin is death...Romans 6:23a
For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son. John 3:16
and His gift is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23b
HIS ONLY SON...
…with the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.(hence the smile) Hebrews 12:2
…when Christ came into the world, he said to God, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings. But you have given me a body to offer. Then he said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time…Our Savior (hero) offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Hebrews 10:5-14
FOR YOUR LIFE...
When you were dead in your sins and in your sinful nature of your flesh that had not yet been cut away, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all your sins, having canceled the charge of your legal indebtedness, which stood against you and condemned you; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities of this world, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Colossians 2:13-15
We know what real love is because Christ laid down His life for us. I John: 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. John 3:16
And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. He declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. Romans 3: 23-24 & 26
He has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. BUT you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. Colossians 1:22-23
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15