When Things are Not as They Seem

The battle of Waterloo in 1815 ended in one of the most decisive victories in history and signalled the end of the military career of the brilliant French leader Napoleon Bonaparte, but the outcome was in doubt right up to the last moments of the battle. The British commander of the victorious multinational army, the Duke of Wellington, described the outcome as “the nearest-run thing you ever saw in your life”.

After his close-run and hard-fought victory, Wellington made arrangements for the news of Napoleon’s defeat to be conveyed to his political masters in London. A series of stations, one within sight of the next, was set up to send a coded message back to England.

The first part of the message – ‘Wellington defeated’ – got through. But then the fog came down and the signallers at the stations could not see each other. And so for a few hours all that the British government heard and knew was the terrible news that Wellington had been defeated by Napoleon at Waterloo.

After a few hours, however, the fog lifted and the rest of the message got through: ‘Wellington defeated Napoleon at Waterloo’.

Things are not always the way they appear to be. When Jesus died the horrible death of crucifixion on a hill outside Jerusalem nearly 2,000 years ago, he seemed to be a broken and beaten figure. When he cried out, “It is finished!”(John 19:30), just before he died, it looked as if he had lost. That is how things seemed, but the reality was actually very different. On Good Friday the news headline appeared to be ‘Christ defeated!’, but then the darkness cleared and the whole message got through on the morning of Easter Sunday: ‘Christ defeated the Devil at Calvary!’.

That is the wonderful message of Easter. Jesus did not die as a pathetic victim but as a powerful victor. He rose from the dead and He lives today, and each one of us can enjoy and receive the blessings and assurance of his victory. Jesus is alive today, and all of us can experience a personal friendship with Him. As the writer of Hebrews puts it, “Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:25). His death and resurrection give us purpose for today and hope for tomorrow, and that is good news indeed.

May you enjoy a blessed Easter, and may you experience the wonder of knowing the risen Jesus as your Saviour and Friend.

Pastor David McKibben
Galston Seventh-day Adventist Church

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