Who do you think holds the record for the longest football pass in history? Some would argue for Brett Favre. Others might think it is Dan Marino or John Elway. Still others might push for Aaron Rogers or Johnny Unitas. Whatever your guess might be, virtually all would assume it was someone who once starred in the National Football League.
If one of these were your guess, you would be wrong. The longest football pass was actually by Tim Kopra – a man who has never played a down in the NFL. In fact, I don’t even know that he played in college! Tim is not even a professional athlete; he is an astronaut living on the International Space Station. Last February, to honor the Super Bowl, he threw a football in space’s weightless conditions (and aboard a vessel traveling 17, 500 mph) a whopping 564,664 yards. This is the distance of over 5,600 football fields stacked end to end!!!!! Unreal!
This is truly a record that will not be broken . . . at least not by anyone on this earth. If the record throw was done under normal conditions, we might imagine someone who is able to actually throw the ball farther . . . but the change in domain actually makes this record untouchable to other “earthlings.” In order to throw a ball that far, someone would have to be out of this world. Literally.
I was thinking about this today as I read Matthew 5. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls His followers to adhere to His deeper standard of righteousness. This sounds good, but upon further examination, it seems to be calling us to an “out of this world” standard. Not only are we to be obedient on the playing field of our observable life, but also in the space station of our thought life. How can we ever achieve the record of righteousness Jesus requires?
The key to this kind of righteousness is truly “out of this world.” In Christ, a righteousness is provided for us that is both “deep” and “wide.” Jesus has thrown the moral ball well over 560,000 yards for us. Further, He provides the grace to enable us to follow Him to record levels of obedience as we trust in Him.
No player on this earth can throw a football the length of one field, much less the lengths of thousands, and no human can live the perfect life God has called us to . . . but Jesus is out of this world! In Matthew 5:17-48 Jesus demonstrates the thousands of yards that His righteous standard demands, so that we would trust in Him (and not ourselves) as we throw our lives toward eternity.
This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church in our 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 worship services, we will be looking at part 4 of the Sermon on the Mount series as we see what space age righteousness looks like related to our anger, lust, and honesty. Join us this Mother’s Day Sunday . . . and bring a friend!