Tonight the NBA Finals tip off between the Celtics and the Warriors. For anyone keeping track at home, I think the Celtics win this series. But I digress …
I will be watching the Finals this year, as I have most every year of my life. I love basketball, and have always followed the NBA. My bedroom growing up had posters of Kareem, Larry Bird, Magic, and Michael Jordan on the walls. These four players are all multiple time NBA champions. In fact, as it pertains to basketball, these are some of the most iconic champs of all time!
Yet did you know something? Each of these men missed many shots (collectively, they missed 34,162 shots in their careers), turned the ball over a ton (11,773 times to be exact), and lost scores of games.
Yet, we don’t remember them for their misses … their triumphs are what we know them by. Together they MADE 42,831 buckets. Collectively they assisted or rebounded the ball 66,774 times. All this translated to 20 combined championships and 17 MVP awards. The scoreboard over their athletic lives reads CHAMPION. Their wins dominate their losses.
I was thinking of this today as I am looking at Revelation 11:1-19. In these verses, a picture of the world is painted during the last 7 years before Jesus returns. Onto this End Times stage step two prophets of God … bearing witness to the person of Jesus Christ, and reminding people of the origin of the judgments that are pouring out on the earth during the Great Tribulation. As we have seen throughout this section of Revelation, God always has His witnesses on the earth inviting people to repent while they still have time. These two witnesses have a remarkable 3.5 year run of ministry. Not only are they proclaiming the reality of Jesus Christ, but they are also performing many miraculous things … things that Old Testament figures Elijah or Moses would understand, but few of us can fathom. During this 3.5 year run, God protects them against all opposition on the earth – though many try to turn these prophets into martyrs, they are ultimately unsuccessful. However, after their run of ministry has completed its God-ordained duration, they are killed by the Anti-Christ, and their bodies are left on the streets of Jerusalem while a cheering/God-hating world looks on. But 3.5 DAYS later, these men are resurrected, and ascend to heaven where they join their Savior and are rewarded for their service.
This rather grisly scene carries a very important (and encouraging) point for all of us. Jesus said repeatedly throughout the Revelation that those who trust in Him are CONQUERORS … CHAMPIONS if you will. Though the world may be able to turn us over for 3.5 days, we will always run the 3.5 year (or longer) course the Lord has for us serving Him. Though Satan may be able to take our earthly bodies in time, Jesus will upgrade them to something incorruptible in eternity! The scoreboard shows that with Jesus we always win … even if it looks to the world like we miss a few shots.
Make plans to join us Sunday at Wildwood as we look at these great verses together in part 4 of our “Lord of the Earth” series at 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00. Join us … and bring friends!