A number of years ago my wife and I had the opportunity to buy a camp in the Midwest. At the time, we lived in California, and as we discussed the potential purchase she said, “Let’s go ahead and buy it, but just don’t think I’m moving there.” The irony in that situation was that two years later we did in fact live there.
Over the years I have seen God work in many amazing ways, but one of His ways that always gets my attention happens whenever He uses irony. The fact is that God is a master at the use of situational irony. Simply defined, situational irony takes place when something happens and a reversal of expectations occurs. One clear example of this occurs in the book of Esther where Haman builds a gallows to hang his enemy Mordecai (God’s man), only to be executed on it him self a few days later.
The Bible is full of ironic situations. Consider how Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery but Joseph is the one who years later saved them. Or, how the Apostle Paul, the man who had the greatest impact on building the Body of Christ, is the very same one who years earlier tried to destroy it.
Over the years I have come to believe that God uses irony to draw attention to His moves, to demonstrate that it is His work and not mere coincidence happening, and to show that His wisdom and power far exceeds man’s.
Here are some powerful examples of situational irony concerning Jesus.
- The priests judge Jesus as guilty of blasphemy, but by their rejection of him they are guilty of blasphemy, because they make God a liar.
- They priests are quick to obey the law and partake of the Passover lamb while corrupting the law to reject The Lamb of God.
- The crowd asks for “Barabbas” which means “son of the Father,” while rejecting Jesus, the true Son of the Father.
- Pilate says he is innocent of Jesus’ blood, but the only way one could be innocent is to be washed by Jesus’ blood.
- Pilate exercises authority as king and judges Jesus, but Jesus is actually the true King who will one day judge Pilate.
- The one who is mocked as king, is truly the king.
- The one rejected as worthless has the greatest worth of all time.
- They kneel before him as a mocking, and yet one day every knee will bow to him in complete submission.
- They mock him as unable to save even himself, and yet he is the one who saves all who accept him.
- Jesus must not save himself if he is to truly save others.
- He hangs naked, but is clothed in our sin.
- The one who is being shamed is worthy of all glory.
- The priests told Jesus to come down from the cross to save himself, but by his coming down in death he saves all who accept him.
- The Roman solders mock him with a crown of thorns (a symbol of the curse) and yet he is truly bearing the curse of sin for all.
- The one rejected becomes the most accepted.
- It is unbelief that caused the cross of Christ, but it is the cross of Christ that conquers unbelief.
Take time to consider your own life and how God has possibly been at work. Many times we can see Him acting by His use of irony.
One last example:
Consider how in the Book of Revelation we are told that meteorites stone the world when the world for centuries has stoned God’s people.