The quote of the day yesterday on my google home page widget was from American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. He said, "Show me a hero and I'll write you a tragedy."
I'm assuming he is commenting on the fact that all of our heroes are flawed. Most of them have a tragic downfall that leads to their ultimate demise. This has been the case throughout history and literature. Indeed, History is marked by "the rise and fall of great ones that ebb and flow with the moon." In Fitzgerald's words there is a challenge. He assumes that there is no hero that is not steeped ultimately in tragedy. I think he's right.
However, the Christian answers that there is one hero whose life did end in tragedy, but did not stop there. There was a hero who died in the place of his followers at the hands of unjust rulers and angry mobs. He was perfect and blameless, yet his life was slowly drained from him in a punishment meant for someone else. There was one who knew no sin but became sin and suffered the fatal consequences of this undeserved malady. A tragedy by anyone's reckoning.
But here is where Fitzgerald's maxim breaks down. This hero's tragedy was the means by which he ultimately triumphed. After this one made purification for sins through his sufferings, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. He now rules his kingdom, and all his enemies are a footstool for his feet. The testimony of Scripture is that the Messiah is exalted because he was made low in his incarnation and humiliation.
In effect, the apostles have written us a tragedy and have shown us our hero.
When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified (2 Cor 2:1-2).