"Under Our Noses"
August 19, 2008
When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished," and He bowed His head and gave up the spirit. John 19:30
Feeling you are probably getting inundated by news of the Olympics (and the future U.S. elections), I generally have steered away from making such items the total focus of the Daily Devotions.
Even so, I would like to tell you about John Steven Aquari of Tanzania. John ran the marathon in the 1968 games in Mexico City.
John ran the marathon, but he did not win it. In fact, a bad fall early in the race guaranteed that John would be the last man to finish. Indeed, John limped into the stadium hours after the rest of the runners had finished and left.
Speaking for all the world, a reporter asked John, "You are badly injured. Why didn't you quit? Why didn't you give up?" John didn't hesitate in answering. He said, "My country did not send me seven thousand miles to start this race. My country sent me to finish."
It was a good answer. It's one that reminded me of others who had been committed to finishing the job entrusted to them.
Look at the Savior as He hung upon the cross. He had, in the 33 years of His life suffered the jealousy of kings, the hatred of those He had come to save, the temptations of Satan, and the desertion, denial, and betrayal of His closest friends.
Even so, Jesus had been sent to save us. No matter what the sinful world dished out, He remained committed to finishing the job He had been given. On the cross, before He dies, in victory He proclaims: "It is finished."
Years later, St. Paul, having been saved by Jesus' gracious sacrifice, said much the same thing.
Having survived shipwreck and stoning, jailing and rejection, Paul had continued to proclaim the Christ everywhere he went. Before he was executed, he wrote to Timothy and made a statement that summed up his life. He said: "I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me" (2 Timothy 4:7b-5a).
To finish the race.
It is my prayer that each of us reading these Daily Devotions might also say, "I am committed to finishing my appointed race." Your race might be long or short; it might be easy or hard. No matter, by the Holy Spirit, in Jesus, finish your race.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, I stand in awe of Your dedication to saving me. It was a hard race, but You finished it. Now, because of what You have done, I am saved. May I, by the Holy Spirit's power, run my race to completion and receive the crown of life. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries