On the plane from Atlanta to Portland, I sat next to a salesman and a lawyer. We had a great time sharing stories, food and funny video clips during our five hour flight. Matt shared with us that he was headed to Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho to compete in the Ironman competition. On Sunday, his goal is to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles in 12 hours! We pumped him with questions and he shared his training regimen, thrills and spills in past competitions. And then he told us the secret to his perseverance.
Years ago, Matt’s best friend since elementary school, was diagnosed with cancer. Matt explained that when he competed for himself, his ability to endure languished, but when he ran for his suffering buddy, it was much easier. Once, near the end of one run, his friend joined him and they crossed the finish line together. For this next race, Matt’s 70 year-old dad with Parkinson’s disease will be waiting to finish with him. He showed us a picture of a heart and on the protruding valves the written names of friends and family who either have died of cancer or are battling the disease. They fuel his training drive. He runs for them. Andrew and I were inspired by the commitment of this amazing 43 year-old athlete.
Matthew 26:67-68—Then they spit in His face and beat Him; others slapped Him and said, “Prophesy to us, Messiah! Who hit You?”
27:26— . . . But after having Jesus flogged, he handed Him over to be crucified.
27:29-30—They twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on His head and placed a reed in His right hand. And they knelt down before Him and mocked Him: “Hail, King of Jews!” Then they spit at Him, took the reed, and kept hitting Him on the head.
27:35—After crucifying Him they divided His clothes by casting lots.
As I think of the incredible perseverance it takes to complete an Ironman contest, my thoughts turn to the greatest Ironman of all. His name is Jesus. Remember He endured the physical beating and torture that eventually claimed His life. He withstood the mental mocking and harassment of His countrymen who despised Him. He weathered betrayal and abandonment by the men He personally trained for three years. At the most brutal moment, His own Coach turned His back on Him.
Jesus didn’t get a medal, a picture, or a shirt. He didn’t summon the power He possessed to fix a rigged competition. He simply bled for you and me. He carried our cross until He collapsed unable to drag the wood of shame to the top of that hill of hate. He did this without complaining, without replenishing fluids along that brutal course, before jeering crowds and most incredibly, full of love for the very people killing Him. It’s one thing to swim, bike and run great distances. Imagine this Hero, who overcame a defeated team, sin and death to become the Savior of the world. Something to think about . . . in reveration!
I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag, and to the Savior, for whose Kingdom it stands, one Savior, crucified, risen, and coming again, with life and liberty for all who believe.—Dan Quayle
©2008 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)