Historians tell us how the news of the battle of Waterloo came to England. There were no cables and telegrams in those days, so they used a system of signal flags called semaphore. Messages were sent one letter at a time.
A sailing ship would be sent to England from the battle and they would semaphore news to a signalman on top of Winchester Cathedral in London. He signaled to another man on a hill outside the city. The message was relayed across England from hill to hill.
Everyone knew that Wellington and his army were facing Napoleon in a great battle. They waited eagerly for the message. At last, the ship came into view and the signalman started the message. The first word was “Wellington.” The second word, “defeated,” was slowly spelled out. ” Just as the second word was finished being sent, a dense fog rolled in and the ship could no longer be seen. “Wellington defeated.” was the message that was sent across England. A despairing sense of doom came over all over England.
About three hours later the fog lifted and the ship could be seen. The message was sent again. “Wellington defeated” were the first words that came, but this time the message continued, “the enemy.” All of England rejoiced. Their sorrow turned to joy.
As we look at the cross, we see defeat. The torture and the agony of death that Jesus suffered seem tragic. The message of that Friday sounds like, “Jesus defeated.” The Easter comes and the fog of despair is blown away and we get the whole message, “Jesus defeated the enemy.”
So often, as we face the problems and frustrations of life, there is a fog that rolls over us. We cannot see the whole message and we think we are defeated. We often become discouraged and filled with despair. Let us remember that the difficulties of this life are but the pain and sorrow of Friday but the message of Easter is that Jesus has defeated the enemy and that the victory has been won.