Imagine this: A couple of teenage hockey players, vying for attention in their league so that they might be called up to Juniors. Both were forwards, and both were natural born leaders; and both, as luck would have it, were enamored of the same young woman. Their competition was not just for the place of primacy on their own team; nor for an invitation to a higher league; but more intensely than anything else, they both wanted to win the heart of this girl. For the entirety of the season they played their hearts out, until, right near the end, one of combatants fell to a broken leg. His season was done; his Junior league aspirations were for all intents and purposes, over; and more tragically than it all, it was now highly unlikely that he would be of any further interest to the young lady. And it was within days of his injury, that his competing teammate was named to the Red Deer Jr. hockey team, eventually going on to be drafted by the St. Louis Blues. He was sad in every conceivable respect. And what made it worse, was that the other guy was going to get the girl! The irony was, that the woman was so moved by his tragedy (and perhaps the fact that she was more attracted to him in the first place), that she gravitated to him in the end. In losing…he won!
Jesus struggled his entire ministry with the way in which this world thinks. The world, our “system,” was intent on winning over the oppression and subjugation it felt, through whatever means were necessary, including imposition of power, domination, and even violence if necessary. Jesus attained to glory only in death, and it is that glory to which he invites us! A categorical rejection of hatred and domination and oppression and violence…this is the only legitimate path to God’s peace and love.