Jesus is the loser who won’t fit in our clique. He’s the abused wife that is hiding during worship. Jesus is the homeless man who is starving while we share communion.
If we look around (mostly down) Jesus is everywhere to be found.
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” – Jesus in Mat. 25:34-36
Jesus is you. And me.
Not the strong, successful, confident you/me.
But the captive, ignorant, loser you/me.
The One True King never identified himself with Ceasar or Caifas. He did not use the strength of super heroes or the strategy of super brainiacs. He identified himself as the rejected refugee. He’s currently the immigrant we want to kick out. Jesus is the prisoner we never visit. And somewhere in the world today, He’s the naked girl who is a prisoner to sex addicts.
Jesus is weak like them.
Losing like them.
And now that I know where He stands, I don’t want to be on the winning team.
And while we’ve been “winning” we have lost our ability to be feet washers and intentional slaves.
One example is Johann Leonhard Dober and David Nitschmann. Two young Moravian Brethren from Herrnhut, Germany who were called in 1732 to minister to the African slaves on the Caribbean islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix. When they were told that they would not be allowed to do such a thing, Dober and Nitschmann sold themselves to a slave owner and boarded a ship bound for the West Indies. As the ship pulled away from the docks, it is said that they called out to their loved ones on shore, “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering!
Losing everything for the sake of losers.
Ridiculously like Him.
So what if the main thing we highlighted was our need for Jesus instead of the world’s need for us?
What if we became better at losing for the sake of others rather than winning for the sake of ourselves?
But that outcome is up to God. We have to stop trying to make it our responsibility.
Let me say this appropriately, I have to stop making it my responsibility!
My call is to die on a cross. After riding a donkey. Because I love my enemies.
My call is to be the ultimate loser.
I suggest we stop promoting strong, pure, successful Christians leaders as if that will help our brand. Because the problem is that we make them look so good that Jesus ends up looking bad.
Our silicone strength steals the beauty of our legitimate weakness. Our Twitter fame robs the attention that secret humility deserves. We keep showcasing holy men, and when they reveal themselves to be sinful (as we all are), Jesus looks like a failure.
But it’s so simple, in this world there are only two kinds of people: sinners and Christ.
As I wrote in Climbing Down The Seven Mountains Of Influence, “While we seek thrones to rule from, Jesus is looking for feet to wash.”
And this Jesus said, “blessed are the poor, blessed are the peacemakers, blessed are those who mourn, blessed are the persecuted…” And blessed means happy… as in happy are the losers.
What a beautiful contradiction.
This is our story. The history of our faith. As Jonathan Parnellero said, “A hero died for villains. Victory came through loss. Life was born out of death. Conquest was accomplished by suffering. The darkest night in history gave way to the brightest morning. In God’s economy, our weakness is our greatest assets.”
So I’m done pretending. I hope you are too.
This family is for the hurting. This body is for the needy. This grace is for the broken.
We are with the losing team… and that ultimately, is our sweetest victory.
Yes, we have been intoxicated with power and vanity and riches; so we need Jesus to save the church. Just as much as the world does. Maybe more.
PS. Paul (in a conversation with God) said it best:
“He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Cor 12:7-10