Failure to part is what it means to be a follower of Christ. Yes, you heard me. When we fail, we also succeed. Jesus said it better: “In this world, you must lose your life to gain it and those who wish to cling to life will lose it.”
I realize that this does not follow today’s glory gospel (a false one) or our cultures understanding of success. But this is what Holy week is all about. A march of failure by Jesus that ends in the cross. God turns it around and makes it into a victory, culminating with the resurrection!!!
In Baptism, we die in Christ and we rise in Christ. In order to have a victory, we must lose. In order to succeed, we must fail. This is not what our culture wants us to think. In fact, many folks in the church don’t want us to think this way either.
We talk about raising our children and grandchildren to be strong, but Jesus says that it is in weakness that we are strong. A leader must be someone you look up to, a person of power and prestige. Jesus says if you want to lead you must follow. If you want to be in charge, you must serve. If you want to be first, you must be last. If you want to live, you must die.
These are really hard statements for us to accept. 100 years after the death of Apostle Paul, considered to be the greatest missionary of the early church, none of the churches he helped start have survived. But because of their failure, the church grew. Because of the loss, the church gained opportunities to spread out and to go beyond. To be the church in the world, not just a few selected locations.
Think about it. Religiously, politically and physically Jesus failed. His death on the cross should have been the demise of the Gospel. Those who followed him, should have all run away. “Membership” in this Jesus movement should have declined dramatically. Jesus should be just a footnote in history and yet, Easter is coming!