What exactly is a paradox?
Well, Google defines it as follows: “a situation, person, or thing that combines contradictory features or qualities.” In other words, it puts together opposing things or events in something like a thought or circumstance for us to consider.
Last night in bible class, our Minister made the statement that the events of the cross were actually a paradox…
For instance, consider the first half of Matthew 26. Within the first thirty-five verses of this chapter, it is fair to say our Savior’s “plate was pretty full” with anguish and despair.
It begins early, in verses 1-2…“When Jesus had finished saying all these things, (parables from chapter 25), he said to his disciples, “As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”
At this point, the Lord knows He is just several hours from His death. And this not just any death, but one on a cross, the most cruel and painful type of demise anyone could suffer in the first century!
As if that wasn’t enough, the woes continue as Jesus deals with the fact that one of His own 12 disciples will betray Him to the Roman guard. Of course we know this to be Judas Iscariot. See how this unfolds in verses 20-25...”When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve…“Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?” Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?” Jesus answered, “You have said so.”
How could one of His own, a man who had followed Jesus for about 3 years, hearing Him preach, seeing His miracles, etc. let the wiles of Satan fill his heart and then act upon them? For thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave, he was willing to turn his back on the very Son of God!
This too had to hurt the Lord immensely. But things did not end there for Jesus. Not only would Judas betray Him, but all of His disciples would eventually run away in fear at the arrest of their Lord. But especially, He had to inform Peter that he would deny his Lord three times before the rooster crowed. More agony for Jesus to deal with as we read in verses 31-35:
“Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written:
‘I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.”
Certainly, even if it was never Peter’s intention to do so, we know he ran just as the others did when the Roman army took Jesus away. Another heartache for our Savior to experience following His arrest in Gethsemane.
Obviously, the woes continued through the night, only growing worse with time. There was the mock “trial” on false charges of blasphemy, the choice of the people to release the murderer Barabas over the Lamb of God, the cry of the people to crucify Jesus, and the final approval of Pontius Pilate to give the Lord over to the soldiers. Soon begin the beatings and humiliation which led to the bloody, indescribable pain of the cross.
It was such a horrific couple of days for our dear Lord! However, we did mention a paradox at the beginning of this post. And here it is for our contemplation.
One the one hand, as we have seen, the cross was an excruciating experience for the Son of God to endure. Yet in doing so, He was to redeem the sins of an entire world. By the death of this one, countless lives were saved! “By His stripes, we were healed,” (1 Pet. 2:24).
Out of the atrocity of the Son of Man’s death on the cross came the deliverance of every human soul who would believe in and obey the Messiah! Out of the chaos of the cross came the peace which passes all understanding…
In the hate of the cross came the most extraordinary expression of love in the history of the world!
Never before was there a occasion of such true paradoxical magnitude; and never will there ever be another one of its kind.
Our God is One of a greater love than we humans can imagine. And all of His plans work for the good to those who love Him. Glory be to both the Father and the Son for their unspeakable affection of we who are so unlovable…
citations ~biblegateway.com~ Google~