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The King's Gambit


“This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge, and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.” (Acts 2:23)

As we come to the Wednesday of Holy Week, we are poised ready to see events unfold. Very soon we will be at Maundy Thursday with Jesus’ final meal with his disciples, his anguish in the garden and his eventual arrest. We move to Good Friday with Jesus’ mockery, rejection and trial, leading to his crucifixion. Then comes Easter Sunday with surprise, joy and glory as death is defeated and Jesus is alive.

At this point in Holy Week, all of that is yet to come. Like a game of chess, the pieces have been moved into place and position for what is about to happen.

Perhaps you have been watching the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit. The story follows the life of a chess prodigy, but the title refers to a specific move in the game of chess. A ‘gambit’ is where you offer your opponent the opportunity to take a valuable piece, seemingly for no reason. However if they take the bait they have set you up for a surprise victory to come.

The biggest gambit you can play in chess is the Queen’s gambit, since she is the most valuable piece you can sacrifice. Except that’s not quite the case. There is a piece more valuable: the king. You can’t allow your opponent to take your king, however, since that means you lose the game.

Easter, and Good Friday in particular, is the King’s Gambit. Jesus, the King of Kings, allows himself to be captured, taken and sacrificed. The game is over it would seem. Except three days later the game has actually been won. The opponent has been defeated and what seemed like the worst move turned out to be the key to victory. As we enter into those events over the coming days, let’s see how God’s set purpose was to win the victory over sin and death. It is what he planned all along.

Jesus, thank you that you gave yourself up for me. Help me to know the depth of your sacrifice and the full extent of your love this Easter. Amen.

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Dan Wells, 31/03/2021