The true and better Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo’s overhead goal against Juventus on Tuesday night was more sorcery than skill.

But it was what happened afterwards that caught the attention of the media.

Ronaldo heads for the corner flag to stand proudly in front of the opposition’s fans. He only expects to receive the usual tirade of finger flicks and abuse.

But the Juventus fans did something very unusual.

They applauded.

No other response fitted such an incredible goal. Despite their allegiance, they were standing in the presence of ‘greatness.’

Our Allegiance

We’re all fans. Our allegiance is to ourselves. And when the opposition ‘scores a goal,’ we get angry.

That ‘goal’ may be a colleague who gets the promotion we wanted. A friend who wins the argument. A situation that exposes our mistake.

This kind of defeat - when our inadequacy, error or sin is exposed – rarely brings about our applause for the victor.

We want that applause ourselves.

Our Welcome Defeat

But like the Juventus fans, sometimes our defeat is at the hands of someone so great that all we can do is applaud.

When we see something of the glory of God in Christ – the laying down of his life for his enemies, the glorious kingdom he’s given us – our response is unusual.

We were all once opponents to Christ. Stood in the away stand, we jeered our offences at him. But now we’ve encountered the overhead goal of Christ's glorious victory on the cross.

And there’s only one way to respond to such greatness.

To lay down our crowns before the throne and say:

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power" (Revelation 4:10-11).

Christians are people who have both glimpsed Christ’s victory and humbly applauded our own defeat.

And our applause will sound forever.