The story is told about a chess master that visited a museum and saw the painting Checkmate. The painting is a picture of the devil and Faust in a game of chess. The legend reveals that Faust sold his soul to the devil in return for unlimited knowledge and worldly treasures. As the years progressed, Faust regretted his decision and opted to play a game of chess with the devil and the winner take all. In the painting, Faust is in checkmate. After prolonged observation of the painting, the chess master with a loud voice shouted “The king has another move.”
Chess is a strategic board game played by two people. It has an international governing body which sets the rules, and the laws of chess govern the game. Each person has sixteen pieces of six types and each type moves differently in a distinct and particular way or pattern. The object or goal of the game is to checkmate, to threaten the opponent’s king with capture. The king is the most important piece but is also the weakest piece. The king can only move one square at a time in any direction. Therefore, it is imperative that the player protects the king with calculated and precise moves.
This story of the chess master makes me reflect on the Resurrection. You may be wondering how but pay close attention while I connect the dots. Now picture this.
This is the Resurrection season. Palm Sunday has passed. All of the people that heralded Jesus with Hosanna are about to say crucify him. The stage is being set, Calvary is fast approaching.
Jesus and the disciples ate a meal and sang a song, and then it was on. Jesus went to the Mount of Olives for three intense intervals of prayer and was very sorrowful and heavy. Thirty pieces of silver was the price of betrayal with a kiss by one who was hand selected. The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. Matthew 26:24
My Savior was denied, betrayed, and doubted so that the scriptures might be fulfilled. All of the disciples forsook Him and ran off. He was threatened with swords and staves, marched from judgement hall to judgement hall, and had false witnesses testify against Him but He never said a mumbling word to defend Himself. They spit in His face, struck Him repeatedly and violently, and ridiculed Him by placing a crown of thorns on His head. He went to Calvary and there they crucified Him with two malefactors, one on the right and the other on the left. Because He took on the sins of the entire world, His face was so distorted that He did not look human. My, my, my. While gambling for His clothes, they gave Him vinegar to drink and mocked and reviled Him. From the sixth to the ninth hour darkness was over all the land. Jesus said, It is finished, bowed His head and gave up the ghost. The massive veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom signifying that the old covenant had been fulfilled, no more animal sacrifice was needed for atonement. The blood of Jesus fully paid redemption’s price and the remission of sin. A new and better covenant was launched and now we can go boldly to the throne of grace. The earth went into a hemorrhaging fit. The graves were opened and the saints that were dead got up. His body was wrapped in a clean linen cloth, buried in a borrowed, new tomb because this was just a temporary situation. The stone sealed the tomb and a watch was set.
Now this looks like a bad situation. It appears that it is over for Jesus. But this is not how the story ends. This was a stupid, stupid move of satan. The devil always goes too far, always overplaying his hand and the game. Genesis spoke of the seed of the woman bruising the serpent’s head, the prophets spoke of the Messiah being wounded, and pierced and Jesus spoke of His death and resurrection. The lamb was slain before the foundation of the world. This was a strategic trap set for satan because the blood had to be shed before there could be remission of sin. But the carnal mind, and satan is carnal, cannot understand spiritual things, they are foolishness to him. So, satan crucified Jesus and ushered in the biggest takeover in history. Jesus died, descended to the lower parts of the earth, preached to the spirits in prison, stripped principalities and powers of their authority, shamed them publicly in their own camp, took the keys of death and hell, ascended on high, and led captivity captive. Now He sits at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us. Now that is my Savior. On the third day morning, the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, rolled the stone away and pronounced, He is risen as He said. He left us with the commission to preach, teach and baptize and as we do, these signs follow: casting out devils, speaking with new tongues, and laying hands on the sick and they recover. He will never leave us, never forsake us. He is with us always, even to the end of the world.
Even with the dots connected, I would be remiss not to make this observation. Although the story of the chess master and the game of chess reminds me of the resurrection, there are some major differences. The king in chess is the weakest piece and needs to be protected from capture. The game can end with several outcomes: checkmate-the king is available for capture; draw or tie-neither player wins; stalemate-no legal move available.
Glory to God. This is not so for my King and the believer. When it looks like you are cornered and your back is against the wall. Remember, God, the King of Glory; God, the King, strong and mighty; God, the King, our protector, loves you so much, that if necessary, He will make the sun stand still and make time wait until you cut a hole in the wall to escape. It is never over for the people of God, we always win and win big every time. The King ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, has another move.
Harriet Noel Jones