When I was in High School there used to be an Exchange Programme whereby the two top scorers in Form Three got a chance to visit the United States of America as two Americans came to Kenya and schooled with us during this season. Oh how we had a steep competition as we all yearned to travel overseas, knowing that only 2 out of 200 would ultimately enjoy this opportunity.
In those days there was no internet to show us how America looked like. We would wait for the two who’d be coming from there and befriending them would be our number one goal, with the objective of learning all that we possibly could about this foreign land. They dressed differently, talked with a peculiar accent and even looked different. Everything they did was our interpretation of how America was like. On the other hand, they were so fascinated with Africa! Most of them went through serious culture shock and after a few days were crying to return to America, where everything seemed easy and enjoyable.
This can be compared to Jesus’ visit to planet earth. He came from heaven to earth, to show us the Way. He came to ultimately redeem us from sin and death by dying on our behalf. He came with the look of heaven, dressed in the Full Armor of God and speaking a heavenly language; ready to demonstrate to us how we ought to live and show us where we belong. In short, He is our Exchange Programme; One to take our part and we, His; The Divine Exchange. He says:
- I died for you that you might live with me (1 Thessalonians 5:10)
- Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
- I give beauty for ashes, strength for fear, gladness for mourning and peace for despair (Isaiah 61:3)
- Come now, and let us reason together… though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18)
- I have turned your mourning into dancing; I have taken off your sackcloth and clothed you with joy (Psalms 30:11)
- Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. (Joel 3:10)
- Give, and you will receive… (Luke 6:38)
- I have called you out of darkness and into My marvelous Light. (1 Peter 2:9)
- Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:58)
Another illustration of this Divine Exchange is seen through the Sermon on The Mount (Matthew 5:3 – 12):
Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
From 1 Corinthians 11:29, I can boldly say that after discerning the Body of Christ and accepting that He died on the cross and rose again, every time we partake of the Holy Communion, we are revived (as opposed to judgement), we are strengthened and healed (as opposed to weak and sick) and we receive life (as opposed to falling asleep – dying).
Prayer: Here we are Father, approaching You in the Name of Jesus Christ and by the Power of the Holy Spirit. Everyday we receive something new from You as we surrender our burdens at the foot of the Cross. We’re transformed into Your likeness (2 Cor 3:18) as we gaze upon You. We shall no longer hide from You when we need help, knowing that our help only comes from You. Thank You Lord for drawing us to Yourself. We desire to know You more; to drink from the River that never runs dry. You are the God of Love and this is exactly what we need since Love conquers all! (1 Peter 4:8). Amen!