Links Daily Devotional

The Comeback

And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” (Revelation 5:9, NIV 1984)

So he’s done it again. And frankly, it really is amazing to watch.

He’s not on his game as often these days, but when Tiger Woods dominates, there is almost nothing like it in sports. Usain Bolt? Shaun White? OK. But the list is very short, especially with Michael Phelps gone to retirement.

Often when an athlete takes flight, finds the zone, shreds the competition—that kind of thing—we say that their performance conjures up memories of another sports icon in a previous generation. But Woods, Bolt, White, Phelps—these are the stars who remind us only of, well, themselves. They are that good at what they do.

And yet they are so distant from the one who draws the praise of angels and the elders.

I am reluctant to call the accounts of Scripture “stories.” I fear this reduces them to tidy moral fables, biographical episodes, or unreliable myths. They are instead histories revealing the work of God in the lives of the men and women he has created. But when I read the throne passages of John’s Revelation, the accounts are so glorious, so worshipful, so Christ-centered, that I find nothing in my experience to compare them to. They are like stories—sweeping epics, really—capturing the imagination not just of my mind but of my soul. I want to meet this God-man, this Lamb who was slain! I know I will fall to my knees in dread and my heart will quake. But I want that, because that is something that no Super Bowl, no Olympic race, no giant slalom, no Indy, and no single athlete can produce in me.

Jesus spoke often of what was ahead of him. He openly predicted his death and resurrection. Those happened. So our ears should perk up at these words, also spoken of his future to the disciples gathered around him: “I am going to [my Father’s house] to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you there to be with me that you may also be where I am” (John 14:2-3). This means that we will one day share that glory around the throne. We will join the praises of the angels, the elders and the nations. We will sing of the unmatchable King.

Is Tiger Woods “back” for an amazing 2013 season? The months ahead will tell. But no display of Woods or any other athlete will thrill our souls like the wonder of Jesus in the halls of heaven!

Jeff Hopper

January 31, 2013

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