Swans are my favorite animals. They are so beautiful, but swans didn’t start out being the beautiful creatures they grow up to be. As a young cygnet, these birds are often seen as ugly and clumsy. These birds remind me that things don’t stay as they are now. Things change and they can change for the better.
Almost two thousand years ago, a man was condemned to die. He was arrested and his family and friends abandoned him. He was spit on, punched, beaten, and whipped until he was unrecognizable. He was then condemned to die and nailed to a wooden cross. His last hours alive on this earth were filled with ridicule and scorn. He was buried in another man’s tomb. He was dead and you’d think that would have been the end, but things change.
Three days later some women when to his tomb and they found that the tomb where their friend was buried was empty. They went and told the man’s closest followers and they came to look and wonder how could this be? One of the women said they saw their friend alive, but no one believed until he met with two of them on a country road and told them that things had changed.
These friends of this man did not understand who this man really was. They thought that he had come to rescue their nation from the cruel Roman Empire. They didn’t understand that his dying was part of his plan. They didn’t understand that their sin had condemned them to death and that he took their sins and he died so they didn’t have to face eternal death. They didn’t understand that this man was not just a man, he was God too. (I can see their dilemma, I scarcely understand the concept myself.) He gave his life so that they would not have to live forever separated from their creator. They did not understand that he had not come to condemn the world (It had condemned itself!) He had come to save it. Not only was he again alive, their whole way of thinking had changed.
He taught them that the freedom he was offering was greater than just freedom from the Roman Empire. He taught them that what he had to offer, no one could take from them for all eternity. He offered them a transformation from death to life.They learned that he was not just like any other man. He was the son of God. He was able to do what no other man could. He offered forever freedom, and his offer continues to this day.
For God so Loved the World that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not his son to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:16-17.
Now how my spirit sings how I think of how he offered me this freedom! He takes me by the hand and leads me through this life. Though I hear the wicked whispers of the enemy in my ear telling me that I am not worthy of his love, I look into my Savior’s eyes, and see his beauty there. All those lies mute under the love I see. In his eye, like the swan, I see in my reflection. His beauty frees my soul.