And this is the victory that has overcome the world -- our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:4-5
The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat.
That pretty much explains what happened at the Olympic 15 km class cross-country skiing race.
Truly, nobody had expected Peru's Roberto Carcelen to take the gold medal at the event. That was for many reasons, not the least of which was that when Carcelen had been training, he had cracked a rib. For him the simple act of breathing was a major struggle, and the idea of competing against the world's best seemed to be nothing more than a waste of time.
Even so, Carcelen did manage to finish the race. He finished the race almost a full half hour after the winner, Dario Cologna of Switzerland, had claimed the first-place position.
But then something interesting happened.
When Carcelen finally managed to complete the course, he was greeted by Cologna. That's right. With all the public relations people ready to whisk him away for the photographers and the news people, Cologna had stayed put so he might welcome the last placer.
When I saw what happened that day, I was moved.
Just as I am moved by the actions of my Savior. Let me explain. If you translate that Olympic moment, which I have just described into our own lives, you will see us coming in dead last. For want of better words, our sins had made us losers. We might be courageous in our efforts to succeed, but we were still going to finish our lives as lonely, last-place losers.
That's the way our lives should have played out.
But that's not the way our story ends. You see, we have a Friend, a Friend who loves us. Jesus, God's own Son, is there for us. He has many other things He could be doing, but He has decided to make it the priority of His life to reach out to, and lift up, the world's sinful losers.
Through His perfect life, His innocent suffering and unjust death, Jesus has won the gold. Now He stands ready to share His victory with everyone. Indeed, he will share it with everyone who acknowledges Him as Savior and Lord. In short, Jesus goes far beyond that beautiful act by the Swiss skier; Jesus takes His victory and makes it ours.
This means, for those who are saved, there is only the thrill of victory and there is no agony of defeat.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord I give thanks for a Savior who has shared His victory over sin, death and devil with us. Because of His selfless act I am forgiven, saved, and am able to celebrate a victory, which will last for all eternity. In the Savior's Name I give thanks. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries