I would like to take this moment to announce my retirement from the National Basketball Association (NBA). I am now 39 years old and no longer feel I have what it takes to compete on an every night basis against the world’s best basketball players. I know Brett Favre played pro football into his 40’s and Charlie Hough was throwing knuckleballs in the bigs in his 50’s, but at 39, I just don’t think I have the lateral quickness to cover Russ Westbrook and his crossover. So, effective immediately, I would like to announce my retirement from professional sports.
The above statement (of course) is absolutely ridiculous. You cannot retire from something you never participated in. The very notion of it is downright silly. You have to start something to stop it. Retiring from something you have never done is a meaningless task.
I was thinking about this today because I was thinking about the truth of Luke 23. In Luke 23, the trial and crucifixion of Jesus is detailed in vivid terms. In this chapter, the Son of God willingly goes to the cross and offers His life as a sacrifice for our sins. The substitutionary nature of His death is clearly seen in this chapter in at least two ways:
- The criminal Barrabas is set free, while the righteous Jesus dies in His place . . . a picture of the substitution Jesus offers each of us — He takes on our death and He gives us His life. – Luke 23:18-25
- Simon of Cyrene carries Jesus cross up the hill of Golgotha. This is both practical (after the beating Jesus had taken, He had very little energy left for this task) and theological (the cross was a symbol of sin . . . Simon carries the cross symbolizing that the sin was humanity’s not Jesus’.) – Luke 23:26
As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus this year, reflecting on His death is important because it reminds us that the death of Jesus (which pays the penalty our sins deserved) would not have been possible without His birth. He had to start life before He could end it. He could not retire from something He had never started, so Jesus humbled Himself to be born (in part) so He could one day die.
This Christmas, let all the faithful come and worship the new born King who offered up to us the gift of atonement on the cross.