Walter Wink in his book “Engaging the Powers” asks a hard question in the introduction of his thoughts: “How can we oppose evil without creating new evils and being made evil ourselves?” It’s a question that is hard to grasp in its entirety. There are many men and women throughout history that in some ways become a composite answer to that question. They have lit candles and showed me the way through the darkness.
Jesus’ candle is by far the brightest. There are parts of me that are still like Peter and really wonder if the showdown was necessary; but as time goes by, I start to understand more and more that for us to come to God, a sacrifice had to be made and that sacrifice was Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. The experience of salvation is a paradox. Jesus said, “He who loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39) It’s like love.
When we love somebody, it is no longer ourselves that is the center of the universe; it is the one we love. We forget ourselves; we deny ourselves, and give ourselves to the other. Thus the paradox: you feel that at last, you really are yourself. To love God is to be saved, and the cross is the central starting point to that journey.