You’ve heard the saying, “Strange, but true.” There are books, videos, and museums that serve up a continuous supply of strange things. All I need to do is mention a name… Ripply. We have all heard of “Ripply’s Believe It or Not!” Robert Ripply was a man who traveled the world looking for the strangest he could find.
He was quoted as saying,
“I have traveled in 201 countries and the strangest thing I saw was man.”
He started his cartoons in 1918 and though he died in 1949, Ripply’s legacy of the strange and unexplainable goes on. That’s 100 years of finding weird things to print in books and display in their “Odditoriums.”
I would bet there is no display for the strangest thing that ever happened in all of history. No book that covers it… oh, wait. There IS a book that talks about this event. It’s the Bible.
In Acts 17:18 we are told, “And also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him. Some were saying, “What would this idle babbler wish to say?” Others, “He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,”– because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.” (NASB)
In this passage, they are referring to Paul. They thought what he was saying was strange. He was talking about Jesus! It was the strangest story anyone had ever heard.
It’s still the strangest story. Who would sacrifice His own son to save a group of rebellious sinners? Who would willingly die on a cross for people who didn’t even believe anything He said?
The Greek word for strange gives us the word PARADOX. A paradox refers to something beyond expectations. It means something completely outlandish.
I think that is the perfect way to describe what Jesus did.
He came willingly at His Father’s request, to lay down His life for those who spit on him and turned their backs on him. He gave up His place in Heaven to come here and rescue us even though we didn’t believe we needed to be rescued. He loves us that much.
That is the strangest thing you will ever hear. Certainly stranger than fiction.
Do you believe it?
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 (NASB)