Often, when a sports team is losing and the game is almost over,
fans will start to head for the exits. Sometimes they want to beat
the traffic home, but often, they're just disgusted with the way the game is going and can't watch any more. It's interesting to note the human movement: when the team seems sure to lose, the people move away, literally leaving the arena. If a miracle
happens, and the team looks like it might win, they come
This is what we do. We are desperate to associate with winners,
and terrified that we'll be associated with losers. This is true in
high school cafeterias, high powered board rooms, NBA arenas,
and even in church pews. We want winners around us, and we
shield ourselves (always politely, of course!) from losers.
Jesus moves the other way.
Our Savior would be found coming into the arena as the clock
was ticking to zero on the home team's failure. Jesus showed
over and over again that his life's work was to associate with
losers. The most common insult sent Christ's way was "He has
gone to be the guest of a sinner" (e.g. Luke 19:7). St. Paul knew
the power of Christ's habit: "You see, at just the right time, when
we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely
will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person
someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his
own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died
for us" (Romans 5:6-8).
In common parlance: Jesus came for losers. People hardly ever
give their all for anyone, but for a real winner, someone might
give up something. God, though, shows his love in one special
way: while we were losers, he sent his son for us. While we were
at our worst, God gave us his best.
Jesus went repeatedly to the down-and-out, the leper, the
demon-possessed, the sick, and even the dead. The movement
of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection is toward overwhelmed
losers like you and me…radically different than what we expect,
and radically better than what we deserve.