“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,’ says the LORD.
‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).’”
Stop for a moment and listen carefully to the Word of the Lord through Isaiah. Read it again and again. Allow these words to sink from your head to your heart. God’s ways are not our ways and God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. Many of the faithful of Jesus’ day were caught utterly by surprise by the nature of Jesus’ ministry. Expecting a conquering hero, they got a suffering servant instead. Anticipating a messiah who would rule from Jerusalem, they got one who was crucified just outside the city. The cross of Jesus is the ultimate sign that God’s ways are not our ways. Now let us all say in unison, “Thank God for that!”
“The cross of Christ is the wisdom and the power of God,” Paul wrote to the Corinthians. Ask what God is like, and we Christians cannot help but point to the cross. We may point other places, as well, but we always end up pointing back to the cross. “Do you see the messiah, crucified between two criminals?” we ask. God is like that! God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself! Amazing love!
Were it not for resurrection, of course, the cross would be just another emblem of despair. We would not have heard of Jesus, were it not for resurrection. He would be just one more would-be savior who had been obliterated by the dark powers of our world. But because of Easter, which we look forward to now in just a few weeks, we recognize that the suffering love of Jesus on the cross, God’s redeeming love, is the power that is going to set the world to rights! Say it again: Let us all rejoice that God’s ways are not our ways!