March 31, 2024 By Norris Burkes


Last Sunday, I was disappointed to see the men’s basketball team of my beloved alma mater, Baylor University, get pushed out of the Sweet 16 by the stronger Clemson University team.

Nevertheless, I think I’m OK with losing. Clemson kept their ten-point advantage most of the game, but in the last few minutes, Baylor pushed within two points of tying. But, sadly, Clemson stuffed Baylor pride with enough foul shots to make the win definitive.

It just goes to show you, that no matter which team you root for, you must be prepared to lose.

In some ways, I think that’s the lesson of Good Friday. The Jesus-followers, my favorite team, lost.

Wait, wait. Don’t burn your newspaper yet.

I just think we’d do well to consider that Jesus lost in the sense that he was nailed to a cross. Nearly everything he said in his final three hours dripped with a conciliatory tone.

“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do… Today you shall be with me in paradise. … Woman, behold, thy son! … My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? … I thirst. … It is finished. … Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”

Yes, he graciously began his talk on Calvary Hill by praying for his murderers, “Forgive them.”

But after that, his whole “love-thy-neighbor” campaign seemed headed downhill.

He concludes his Last Will and Testament with – Take care of mom.

He calls out his Father for not watching his back.

And then by the time he announces, “It’s finished,” his spirit seems in full retreat.

I mean, come on man. From a military outlook, this is defeatist talk.

But here’s the thing, the resurrection of Easter actually tells me that God didn’t lose. He categorically won.

The losers of the day were the power-hungry folks who sought the winning favor of an earthly king. The real losers were those who’d only followed Jesus hoping he’d lead armies against their Roman oppressors, feeding his soldiers with five bread loaves and two fish.

The absolute losers of the day were the ones who wrapped their populist ideals in God language. Five days before, they shouted “Hosanna” in hopes Jesus could help them crush their enemies.

As our national elections approach, it might be good to remember the lessons of Easter.

Sadly, these days, Christian Nationalism has asserted the same misplaced allegiance shown by the religious people of Jesus’ day.  The church has become entrenched in tribal affiliations between left and right resulting in the breakdown of relationships.

These folks find it easier to garner votes by demonizing the opposing political party. Players on both sides of this political game seek to restore Jesus to a seat of power that he totally rejected from the cross.

Gratefully, as a follower of Christ, I can tell you that our battle is not with this world.

The Apostle Paul understood this because, before he was a good guy, he was AKA Saul. He lived by the sword, executing Christians for the sake of winning the struggle.

But not long after his conversion, he would tell the church at Ephesus that “…our struggle is not against flesh and blood but … against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).

Easter means that God has already won the battle. He conquered death and all the fear that goes with it. That is victory enough for me. How about you?

The message of Easter is a win-win. God so loved the entire world that he gave his son. (John 3:16)

But we all know that verse.

What we fail to quote is the following verse, John 3:17. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

See how that goes? No condemnation.

Love wins. It always does because God plays the long game.

Happy Easter, everyone.


I found inspiration for this column in Tim Alberta’s book “The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: American Evangelicals in an Age of Extremism.” (Harper Collins 2023)

Talk to your church about sponsoring The After Party, a free six-part video course designed to provide churches with a biblically based approach to navigating today’s challenging political environment.

Contact Chaplain Norris at or 10556 Combie Rd. Suite 6643 Auburn, CA 95602 or voicemail (843) 608-9715.