The Olympics are fast approaching. As of this writing, we are less than 23 days from the opening ceremonies. To be exact … Friday, July 23rd at 20:00 Japan time. which is 22 days18 hours 31min 59sec.
It is a long journey of hard work and commitment to get on the team so you can have a chance at a medal. Athletes all over the world will compete against the best nations have to offer. In the end, a few champions will be crowned, but the majority will leave in defeat with only the memory of their loss.
(An Olympic parable) There was an event once where a man spent his entire life preparing for the day where he would face his foe and compete. People heard of this athlete’s power and prowess and they knew he was their champion and could not wait to see him win the gold and be crowned the victor. Like all Olympic athletes, he bore on his shoulders the hopes and dreams of his people. When the day came and the fight was on … the battle was intense and the enemy was fierce. There was no mercy as blow after blow was landed. Even as he stumbled, bloody and bruised, the fickle fans turned on him and started cheering for his competitor. A few faithful followers watch in disbelief as their champion fell and lost the fight. It was over. They were stunned and in shock. They could not believe what had just happened. They were filled with disappointment and disbelief as they silently left the arena.
That is the way most competitions end. One group celebrates while the other is sad and searching for answers. It is not long before they wonder who will be the next champion worthy to hang their hopes upon. But this story is different because the competition could not see what was about to happen. Two opponents with two totally different goals. Our champion’s goal all along was not to win, but to die so that we could live. His loss was our gain. His defeat was our victory. His goal, strategy and ultimate victory was in being a perfect savior, dying as a perfect sacrifice, to present an imperfect humanity to a perfect God … it was perfect! He stood up after He was knocked down; He rose up after He was pronounced dead and buried! All because of this simple truth …
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,
he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy
and blameless and above reproach before him …
He fought for you and me! He did not win a medal; He won mankind! He restored, redeemed and rescued you and me so that we could be presented in the presence of our creator wearing the win of our Savior, living and dying in the victory of our Lor
I love competition. I love being on the winning side. But when it comes to winning and losing in the Kingdom of God … well, Jesus, showed us how to win!
If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross
daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but
whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a
man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?
Spend some time replaying the match in your mind. Think about loss as victory and death as life. How can you live today in the victory of Christ and how can you die today, so that you are more alive than ever before in your Champion?