(By CP Cartoonist Rod Anderson)
The United Kingdom is abuzz now that Andy Murray has become the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years. He defeated Novak Djokovic ("The Joker") on Sunday, after having lost in last year's final against Roger Federer. Andy is now on top of the tennis world, and on top of the U.K. even to the point of being mentioned for knighthood by the Prime minister.
It has been a long road for Murray, especially considering the horrific event he experienced as an 8-year-old child in his small hometown of Dunblane, Scotland. Andy hid under a desk and sheltered his brother as a gunman slaughtered 16 children and one teacher at his elementary school on March 13, 1996.
Andy Murray has risen above the pain of that dreadful day. In the words of one resident from Murray's hometown, Andy has now "exorcised a ghost in Dunblane." I don't know about that, but I do think his victory will not soon be forgotten in what is now basically Andy's kingdom.
Jesus too has a united kingdom, but His kingdom will last forever. Christ defeated "the joker" of the devil by dying on the cross and rising again. There was definitely a dark period, however, before the victory was secured. St. Mark tells us, "Those crucified with Him also heaped insults on Him. At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour." (Mark 15:32,33) Christ's disciples felt defeated at that point in the match. Game over. Or was it?
As it turned out, that was not to be the final word. It was only when Jesus said, "It is finished," (John 19:30) that we see how Christ "disarmed the powers and authorities" of His opponent and "triumphed over them by the cross." (Colossians 2:15) Game, set, match!
Through His death and subsequent resurrection, Jesus turned spiritual darkness into an eternal light for all who meet Christ, believe in Him, and then begin to follow Him.
Maybe you have experienced a dark period in your life. You might even be in the middle of it right now. There is light and hope in Christ. There is victory even for those who have known nothing up until now except defeat. If you accept Christ as your Savior, you won't have entire countries cheering for you as they did for Andy Murray in the U.K., but the angels in heaven will rejoice the moment you are born again through faith in Jesus. (see Luke 15:7)
Just as Andy Murray went through an incredibly dark period early in life, our world and the people in it have been through much darkness as well. If it had not been for Christ coming to earth to redeem us, there would be no light at the end of the tunnel for any of us. His victory assures an eternal victory for all who enter His kingdom with the faith of a child.
Andy had to rise above his childhood trauma in order to earn the Wimbledon trophy and the respect of millions. You may have to rise above a childhood which was devoid of faith as you now seek to claim the prize Christians look forward to enjoying when our time on earth is finished. There is still time to bring your sin to Christ and ask Him to forgive you. He will do it in a heartbeat.
Andy Murray is only a man. Jesus Christ is fully God and fully Man. Andy is a created being. Jesus is the eternal God, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Andy just won a major tennis tournament. Jesus won eternal life in paradise for those who enter His kingdom.
I don't know about you, but I enjoyed watching Andy defeat "The Joker." (It was actually the replay that afternoon. I was teaching in the book of Hebrews and then preaching from the book of Jeremiah while the event was happening live in London.) As much as I enjoyed the Wimbledon final, I enjoy Christ and His victory a million times more. One match is earthly and temporal. The other match is heavenly and eternal.
My family tree traces back hundreds of years in Andy's country of Scotland, where the name "Dalzell" (as it was spelled) was first recorded in Lanarkshire in 1259. My dad's name is William Wallace Delzell.
My spiritual family tree, on the other hand, grew its roots on a hill outside Jerusalem 2000 years ago. From that tree and the blood which flowed there, an entire family of believers around the world has risen up through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Are you in God's family? Would you like to be? There is a victory party taking place in heaven that will make athletic conquests on earth seem irrelevant when all is said and done. Andy is a king of sorts in the U.K. today. Jesus is "the King of kings and Lord of lords" (1 Timothy 6:15) over the entire universe. Andy can bring you some enjoyment as you watch a competitive and entertaining tennis match. Jesus can forgive your sins, save your soul, and bring you to paradise to live forever in joy, peace and unity with everyone there. Sounds like quite an amazing united kingdom, doesn't it?
You don't have to be a Wimbledon champion to experience victory. You just have to know how to get beyond whatever darkness you passed through in your childhood, and whatever light you have been given that can't hold a candle to Christ. His light and His victory are the only things that will be celebrated 100 years from now by those in the U.K. and elsewhere who know the score, and who personally know the Champion of saints and sinners.
So are you ready to serve on the winning team, or do you still just want to be a spectator to the greatest Victory ever known to man?