In my days in the playground it was Merlin Premier League stickers. I'd take a whole wad of my doubles in my trouser pocket and, every break time, try and get the stickers I needed from mates by swapping the ones I had loads of, for those really rare ones, or ones I just hadn't manage to get in all of the packets I'd bought from the newsagents with my pocket money.
I remember one guy always trying to get rid of David Lee who was one of the Chelsea squad at the time. He must have had him 10 times over. He was desperate for someone to take his David Lee sticker and give him one he wanted.
Today, as Christians, we celebrate the ultimate swapsie, if that's not too flippant. Good Friday is good because Jesus swapped us all that He had for all that we had. Theologians have called it "The Great Exchange" but in the language of the playground it could be "The Best Swapsie Ever". Here's a few things that Jesus swapped us for:
- Righteousness for Sin - In 2 Corinthians 5:21 we read that Jesus became sin for us that we might be the righteousness of God. All of our evil thoughts, actions and attitudes were owned by Jesus on the cross and in return we got His perfect record, His righteousness. Jesus died once for all, "the righteous for the unrighteous" (1 Peter 3:18).
- Innocence for Guilt - As the crowds were crying out for Jesus to be crucified, Pilate gave them the choice of one prisoner to be released. The options were Jesus or Barabbas, a murderer and insurrectionist, a menace to society (Mark 15:6-15). The crowd choice the guilty one and left the innocent one to die. At the cross Jesus show that he takes out guilt and makes us innocent. We are like Barabbas, we stand in his shoes, declared innocent and released.
- Blessing for Curse - The Bible says "cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree" (Gal 3:13 citing Deut 21:23). As Jesus hung there on the cross He became a curse, He took our curse, so that we might enjoy "every spiritual blessing" (Ephesians 1:3) by being found in Him.
- Adoption for Alienation - Jesus, the Son of God, experienced something on the cross that He has never experienced before. For the first time ever, since eternity past, God the Son was forsaken by God the Father. He went through that so that we might not be alienated from God forever but so we can be His children. Children not born of natural decent or human decision, but born of God (John 1:12-13). 1 John 3:1 puts it like this, "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, the we should be called children of God; and so we are."
- Life for Death - Jesus died upon the cross so that we do not have to die and face eternity without God. He died so that we might live and live life in all it's fulness (John 10:10). We enjoy relationship with God now and forever.
Those are snapshots worth meditating further upon, today and for the rest of your life. There is so much more that could be said too, but for now remember that Jesus, the eternal Son of the Father, went to the cross so that you and I could become sons and daughters, co-heirs with Him.