Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

Daily Devotional: Thursday, July 22 - The Last Shot

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” — Isaiah 9:2

The world is fixated on closers, whether it be in business, in sports or in politics. We idealize individuals of the world who can make things happen in their favor, regardless of the odds or circumstances that stand against them. In the sporting world, there is a pantheon of these individuals who earned the coveted title of “clutch” — Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky, Joe Montana, Derek Jeter. For their exploits on the fields of this earth, these individuals earn considerable acclaim, prestige and worldwide fame; they are idols for the masses.

I often wonder why, when celebrating the great closers of this world, all of humanity doesn’t celebrate the greatest closer of any time, any existence — Jesus Christ. Even the greatest of athletes have called shots and missed; had the perfect opportunity to claim victory and fell short. Jesus called every shot He ever took; He calmly delivered on every critical moment that was prophesied He would claim. Why doesn’t the world acknowledge that more?

The coming of Jesus was prophesied throughout the Old Testament, with God working within the prophets to tell of the coming of the Son of Man. We see this most in Isaiah, particularly in Isaiah 9:2, which states, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:6 states, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Jesus delivered on those promises with every aspect of His birth, with God meticulously setting the stage for saints to know of the Messiah, and Jesus checking off each of the signs with no challenge. Even with what the shepherds were told in Luke 2:8-20, they found that Jesus had perfectly fulfilled every prophecy of His coming. God called the shot to His people; Jesus fulfilled God’s promise of a Savior.

In sports, great closers state how they will overcome the greatest of odds to victoriously rise; sometimes they do, many times they don’t. Jesus called the greatest shot in the history of the world, saying that He would overcome death and rise from the grave on the third day, showing Himself as “Immanuel.” The culture of the world celebrates those who make last-second shots with parades. What does the Son of Man deserve for overcoming the grave that has ensnared each person who has walked among us? Mark 16 perfectly describes the entire scene, as incredible as it is. Indeed, glory to God in the highest!

Time and time again, Jesus showcased His supernatural ability to fulfill prophecy, because He is prophecy. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Way, the Truth and the Life. God’s end game with the world is not finished, so why should we doubt the prophecies of Christ that are given to us through the Book of Revelation? We know the greatest “last shot” is coming, so why is the world not preparing for it with celebration and eagerness?

This God has promised to us, the body of Christ: When the trumpets sound and the time comes for Jesus to take the final shot in the struggle against sin, against death, against evil, He will take the shot perfectly in rhythm, with grace and power that all of creation will recognize. For Jesus is the King of kings, He is the Lord of lords. He simply Is. What a last shot that will be.

— Jon Oglesby

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