A couple of months back, KFC opened its first outlet in Vijayawada, right opposite to my office. Great news! I actually came to know about it even months before it opened. How? I was just walking in front of the building under renovation and saw Colonel Sanders framed picture hidden in a corner. One look at it and I knew what was coming. In any ordinary day we come across so many signs, symbols, logos which say it all – bitten apple, leaping panther, golden arches, Colonel Sanders, the tick mark etc, etc ,etc. They all stand for something. A look at them and we associate in an instant what they stand for. One of the most common sign that I come across is the Cross. Do you know what it stood for? It stood for death by crucifixion – the most painful and also the most shameful death. It was a sign of death, of torture, of pain, of agony, of humiliation, of abandonment. But Jesus forever changed what it stood for. This very sign of shame changed into a sign of sacrifice, of obedience, of redemption, of courage, of forgiveness, of peace, of grace, of hope, of love.
Everything that Jesus did was in contradiction to the normal practices, social settings, religious rituals, human logic. When He was an infant Simeon prophesised about Jesus saying, "He shall stand as a Sign of Contradiction." (Luke:2:34) And He did. Christ has been a Sign of Contradiction throughout.
When any king would have been born in a palace, Jesus - the King of Kings was born in a dirty manger;
When others would have chosen the most luxurious houses to stay, he didn’t have any place of his own;
When others taught eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth, He taught “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44);
When others would shun outcasts, He accepted them; when others stayed away from lepers, He touched them, hugged them, healed them;
When others didn’t want to be associated with tax collectors, prostitutes, sinners, He spent time with them, walked with them, helped them, forgave them and showed them the right path;
When others wanted to stone a sinful woman to death, He stood by her and gave her a new life;
When others would select the most qualified people to be their followers, He called the outcasts, the illiterates, the powerless to be His first twelve disciples;
When others would command their disciples to respect them, He washed their feet;
When others looked for power, riches, wealth, He said “Seek first the kingdom of God and everything else shall be given to you.” (Matthew 6:33);
When others would hold grudge against others and would not forgive even once, He said forgive seven time seventy;
When others would become furious if they are accused for anybody else’s slightest mistakes, He, who committed no sin, took upon Himself the sins and wrongdoings of everyone who ever lived or will live on earth;
When others would want their desires, wishes, will to be done, He said “Father, not mine, but let your will be done.”(Matthew 26:39) ;
When others would curse those who hurt them even in the slightest possible manner, He prayed for forgiveness for those who tortured Him, chastised Him, killed Him;
When others, in order to be victorious, would want to kill their enemies and defeat them, He became victorious by sacrificing Himself and facing the most painful death;
When others would die and perish, He rose up the third day and said “I will be with you always, till the end of ages.” (Matthew 28:20);
When others would talk about love, He showed what true love is.
He truly was a sign of contradiction. In my life also, He stood as a sign of contradiction. He still does. When I was running away from Him, He came all the more closer to me; When I felt all alone, He was there with me; When I kept on hurting Him through my sinful life, He forgave and hugged me; When I was drowning deep in addictions, He lifted me up; When I denied His love, He loved me more and more; When I was leading a wretched, meaningless, miserable life, He came and changed my life for the good; When I was afraid to open my mouth in front of a few people, He made me speak in front of hundreds; When I had no one besides me, He stood by me every second of my life and He still does; When I’m surrounded by troubles and worries, He gives me courage; When things go wrong and I’m restless, He fills my heart with a peace that is beyond my understanding, When I’m filled with anxiety and tension, He puts a smile on my face; When I think that nothing is going the right way, He says, “Don’t worry it will all be fine.”; When I forget Him, go away from Him, He still remembers me and brings me ever close to Him; When I lead an ordinary life, He inspires me to lead a meaningful one and asks me to be a sign of contradiction.
Lets know this Sign of Contradiction personally and lets, through our lives, try to be a sign of contradiction.
“Let no one reproach you, because you are young. Be a model ... in the way you speak, act, in your love, your faith and purity of life.” (1Timothy4:12)