So I am sitting here watching the World Cup match between USA and Algeria as I write this blog. For those of you who are not familiar with World Cup, it is possibly the biggest sporting event in the world. Here in the U.S. it is not a big deal, but many countries live and breathe this soccer (futbol as it is called everywhere else) tournament every 4 years. For instance, France was just recently eliminated and the headline back home was “The End of the World.”
Anyway, there are 32 teams in this tournament, and they are divided into 8 different groups. Each country will play the other 3 teams in their group and receive 3 points for a win, 1 point for a tie and 0 for a loss. The 2 teams with the most points from each group advance to the next round.
The United States tied their first two matches (in soccer they call them matches, not games) and so now they need a win against Algeria to advance to the next round. In the first half the United States came up with a big goal to take the lead, but it was called back because of offsides. I am not even going to try and describe offsides to you here, but in replay it was obvious that the U.S. player was not offsides and the goal should have been allowed.
The game continued on and the U.S. had some great opportunties. They had many great plays and hit a couple of shots off the posts and goalie, but never quite got the ball into the back of the net. It was a difficult and frustrating game to watch, but the most frustrating thing was knowing that the U.S. should have been playing from ahead for the whole game after their early goal was disallowed.
I don’t know about you, but one of the things that I find most frustrating is unfairness. I always have. I can’t stand seeing someone wrongly accused or someone treated unfairly. If you were with me while watching this match you would have heard me screaming at the television quite often. Nothing inappropriate, but I was definitely quite vocal about the unfairness I was watching.
But that got me thinking about Jesus. I know that watching soccer may not usually cause you to think about Jesus, but let me explain. You see, Jesus endured the most unfair event ever. He was wrongfully accused, arrested, tried, beaten and murdered on a cross. But Jesus didn’t yell or scream, he endured it all in silence. Isaiah 53:7 prophesied about this event saying, “he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” Jesus endured all of that outrage, humility, pain and suffering and death for us, and he did it without every raising His voice in His own defense.
There is something that I should learn from that. I can get pretty worked up about unfair things that are miniscule in comparison to what Jesus endured. Jesus’ example is excellent for me to remember when I am faced with something that I consider to be unfair.
But beyond that, because of His silent sacrifice, we receive a great victory. Eternity with Him in Heaven. What an amazing outcome out of what was a terribly unfair event. Jesus silently endured a terribly unfair event and turned it into the greatest victory of all time. A victory that I should celebrate everyday of my life.
By the way, while I was writing this blog, the U.S. game came down to the final minutes. Actually, regulation time had run out and the game was into it’s final 4 minutes of what is called “stoppage” time. And with less than 4 minutes left, the U.S. made a great charge down the field and scored the winning goal. With that outcome, combined with the result of the other game in their group (between England and Slovenia), the U.S. not only advanced to the next round, but won their group. After enduring an unfair event (with me screaming at the television), the U.S. team came away with a wonderful victory. Obviously nothing compared to what Jesus accomplished, but still I was jumping up and down and screaming at the television once again, only this time in a much different way than I had before. Go U.S.A.!