Turn Out the Lights, the Party’s Over

When football sportscaster Don Meredith sang “Turn out the lights, the party’s over,”  you knew the game was virtually lost.  As I read the Easter story I thought about that phrase.  At what point could earth and heaven declare the controversy of the ages over? At what point did Satan and his cohorts realize they’d lost the war?

For the Savior, the war ended in Gethsemane when He replied after praying,”Father take this cup from me, but not my will but thine be done.”  The pain and agony of the trials, beatings, and the cross were anti-climatic for Him.  The die had been cast; His destiny set.

However for Satan, the anti-Christ, the cross was only the beginning of the contest.  Consumed by anger, his hatred boiled over, releasing a fury of vengeance.  The more Jesus suffered, the more the Ruler of the Dark rejoiced.  He’d won!  He would kill the Pretender to the Throne!  I can almost imagine the creature dancing about the cross on his cloven hooves in a mad frenzy.  With every wince, grown, with every tear shed by His beloved ones, the evil one’s excitement grew.  Until…

Until Jesus did the impossible… when He uttered the most unbelievable prayer imaginable.  “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  Through all His misery and agony, the dying Master prayed for His people.  He prayed for those who loved Him; He prayed for those who hated Him.  His gaze rested on those who would come later–you, me.  “Forgive them.  They don’t know what they are doing.”

As poet Alexander Pope wrote, “To err is human; to forgive is divine.”  When Jesus transcended from the human pain into the divine realm of forgiveness, the battle was won.  Satan had lost.  I can almost hear the dark knight screaming, “No!  No! You can’t do that!  Curse them and die, You fool!”  That would be the point in the great controversy Don Meredith would sing, “Turn out the lights, the party’s over.”   No amount of touchdowns by the cursed demon would wrench the game from the hands of the Victor.  His death, even the resurrection as incredible as it was,  was nothing more than His victory dance around the goal post.

The same is true for you and for me.  We will make mistakes, others will hurt us and try to bring us down, but we share in the Divine victory when we forgive.  As the Lord’s Prayer states, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors…”  What a privilege to touch the Divine through forgiveness.  So whatever pain you carry, whatever wounds from which you suffer, score the winning touchdown through forgiveness and sing the victory tune, “Turn out the lights, the party’s over.”

 

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