What makes a champion? Yes, it is winning more games than your rivals. But a successful season starts long before the first game. It is about conditioning, be that weightlifting, doing sprints, running and running and running some more. If you out prepare your opponents, train harder and practice longer, it will show up in ways that most fans will appreciate, but never understand.
Jesus was a champion! Before you starting thinking it came easy for him, think again. In John 10:17-18, we find out Jesus knew exactly what his mission entailed: it was to die. Of all the ways ever invented by man to kill, crucifixion ranks up there as one of the most torturous. Yet, Jesus accepted this because it was the road he had to take to be the champion of all champions.
Paul puts some perspective on this in Romans 5:6-8. Jesus came to die, not for the “good people” but rather for the enemies of God, sinners. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” For me and for you, my friends. You see, we all need a champion and Jesus became our champion by dying on a horrible cross. The older I get (and I am getting old, kids!) the more I realize how much I need what Jesus did for me. His death brings the spiritual healing I need from my sin and the empty tomb gives me true hope beyond this life.
In case you have not noticed, the world is becoming a more dangerous place. Middle school children are violently killing people, including teachers who offer them help. Chemical addiction is on the rise (so let’s make marijuana legal – that will help!!???). Depression among teens and adults is on the rise. Our culture is failing to address these and other issues properly. In fact, the culture is adding to the issues.
What we need is a champion! Not just a conference winning football team (Go Tigers!), but a true champion that will eternally be undefeated. I strongly suggest Jesus is the only champion worthy of our faith and following. Besides his empty tomb, there is the fact that no other person in history has changed the world more, period! I will put my champion up against all others.
Please find out more about this Jesus of Nazareth, a.k.a. Jesus Christ. If you need some help, look me up. I would love to talk about why Jesus is my champion with you. Here if you need me, neighbor. Enjoy the day!
The Rev. Ken Hasekamp is pastor of Adventure Christian Fellowship. Sermon notes is a column by local religious leaders.