My son runs track and field. Like many parents in my situation, that places me in the stands to watch meets during the spring time. Now, I love sports. I really do. Almost every sport has great interest for me . . . except track. I just don’t consider track meets the best sporting experience: they are long, slow (for a sport based on speed, this is ironic), and repetitive (‘round and ‘round we go).
Now, that said, there are two things I do love about track:
- Watching my son race. (I’m a dad after all!)
- Watching every relay. (Relays, regardless of distance, bring an entirely different element into track that is far more enjoyable for me to watch.)
Some of you are irate at this point (I’m looking at you “track guy”). You love this sport and my comments are offensive. I get it. Start complaining about the NBA, and I may question your intelligence as well. We all have our interests and hobbies. Whether you love track or (like me) prefer other sports, most of us do enjoy relays.
In a relay you have multiple “legs” to the race, each running equal distances, with a baton passed from person to person along the way. This team effort adds drama and excitement to even the longest of relays . . . something new, yet connected is around every turn.
In a sense, history is a relay. One generation receives a “baton” from those who proceeded them and then one day pass it on to those who follow. But even in a greater, macro-level sense, history has unfolded and will continue to unfold as a relay race. Though human history is long, slow developing, and repetitive (nothing new under the sun), there has been a greater story unfolding from the start . . . and this Sunday at Wildwood as we look at Matthew 26 we will see the baton passed at a critical moment in history. What do I mean?
- Human history began in a Garden (the Garden of Eden), where humanity first sinned (Genesis 2-3).
- Human history turned in the Garden (the Garden of Gethsemane), when Jesus stayed the course and went to the cross (Matthew 26:36-56).
- Human history finishes in the Garden (the New Heaven and New Earth), when Jesus returns people who trust in Him to their full, right, and eternal fellowship with God (Revelation 21-22).
Another way to look at this relay:
- Humanity fell at a tree (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) when Adam and Eve sinned (Genesis 3).
- Humanity is saved when Jesus hung on the tree (the cross) to pay the penalty for our sins (Matthew 27).
- Humans who trust in Jesus will one day experience eternal life around a tree (the tree of life) living in fellowship with God forever (Revelation 22:1-5).
In both of these relays (“Garden to Garden” and “Tree to Tree”) the middle “leg” is where the race is won. This Sunday at Wildwood we will look into the Garden of Gethsemane together to see how the rest (of us) are won as Jesus confirms His decision to hang on the tree. Make plans to join us on our livestream at wildwoodchurch.org/live this Sunday at 11AM in part 5 of our “Defeating Death” sermon series, looking at Matthew 26:36-56, 27:3-10.