02 Apr The Great Exchange
Maybe you’ve purchased a shirt you like, but you got the wrong size. What do you do to get the one that fits you?
You exchange it.
On your favorite pro sports team (if you have one), what would you call it when your team trades one player for another or for several players?
When you eat a food you love (or were perhaps forced to eat!), you chew and swallow. What begins to take place?
When stockbrokers swap one stock for another, what’s it called?
A stock exchange.
I could go on!
An exchange, simply put, is one thing traded for another.
We understand the concept of exchange: we make some sort of effort, we do one thing to get another, we take one thing and trade it for another to get what we want or to make sure we get what we are owed.
An exchange is this for that.
So what’s Jesus after when He asks the question in Mark 8:37,
“What can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”
I think He is asking (perhaps among other things) what is the human soul worth? What could possibly be traded for it?
On one hand, I think Jesus is pushing us to acknowledge (in addition to the truth that you and I actually have a soul), that the human soul is priceless. No success, no money, no job, no position can match the value of your soul, my soul.
And yet on the other hand, when you read this verse in context, you see Jesus is also pointing out that people are always trying to take the pricelessness of their own soul and trade it away for something cheaper. What does it profit you; what do you gain, Jesus asked, by chasing after the world and giving away your soul in the process? This is a fundamental condition of humanity Jesus is pointing out.
Why are humans always giving away their soul?
I think it’s because Jesus is pressing us to see, at a certain level, we know we aren’t enough. We know we need a Savior. We know we are incomplete and need something beyond ourselves to take within ourselves to make ourselves ok. We need a voice outside ourselves telling us that we are actually enough.
And in a way, that’s what Easter is all about.
Easter is all about God’s answer to Jesus’ question:
What can anyone give in exchange for their soul?
God’s answer? The sending, the giving, the death of His Son.
Which is why Christians have always referred to what Christ has done for us in the Gospel as “The Great Exchange”. Not just any exchange, but The Great Exchange.
This. For that.
All of God, on a cross, for all of us. All of God’s goodness and glory and beauty for all of our disaster and mess and darkness. God doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves: saving our souls.
In short, the Christian life (and especially the Easter celebration!) is all about one central verse:
“God made Him who knew no sin to become sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
-2 Corinthians 5:21
Except, this Exchange, the Great Exchange, is so much better!
God makes the effort–God takes the torn t-shirt, the broken-down player or worthless stock, so to speak, of a human life–and transforms it.
God, on the cross through Jesus, takes what is owed to us and gives us back what Jesus was owed.
I can’t wait to sing and celebrate that Great Exchange this Easter with you: at 9 am, 11 am and 1 pm.
P.S. You should know that we are excited to have been able to increase our seating capacity for our gatherings to 50%. We would love to have you!