A missionary recently visited our Church, giving account of some of his time in the field and talking about the culture he was living and working in. He depicted the religious system of the culture, explaining what all their pantheism entailed. In the midst of this description, he gave an account of the ancient human sacrifice system that existed.
One story in particular stuck out. There was a particular god that was worshiped that the people sought to appease, and thus, offered sacrifices. In order to appease this god, they held a beauty contest, an amazing pageant where mothers and fathers from throughout the land spruced their daughters up and entered them in the competition. A victor was crowned, and she was dressed beautifully and celebrated.
Following the celebration, the crowd would cheerfully carry her out to a well, slaughter her, and dump her body into the well.
If that didn’t do it, they’d repeat the competition or try different combinations of people, trying to find the right humans to murder in order to get a fickle god to be content. I can’t even imagine the constant fear these people lived under, or how unstable their lives were. The concept of human sacrifice is horrific, especially when you consider the fact that this was a routine event for this people group.
Then, the missionary pointed out something that has been in my brain ever since:
What a paradox Jesus Christ is!
The definition of paradox is ‘one (as a person, situation, or action) having seemingly contradictory qualities or phases’ (Merriam-Webster). You see, Jesus, fully GOD, came to earth and wrapped himself in the flesh of those who truly should spend their lives trying to make him happy. Not only that, but he sacrificed HIMSELF for US.
Throughout history, there is account after account of people sacrificing other people in order to try and make a bipolar god happy. Yet, our God refused to play this game with us. He loved us so much that he turned the tables around.
Hebrews 7:19-20 says,
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.”
Not only did Jesus come to earth to secure our salvation, but he came that we may have hope in something firm, that we may be anchored into something. Our God is mighty, and unlike all false gods that people attempt to give his glory to, he does not delight in the torment of his people. He loves us so much that he didn’t want us to have to work to earn salvation, nor live in constant fear and without hope.
Yes, Jesus is a paradox, a delightful paradox. Our God saves, and he is so worthy of worship.