Your daily Olympic devotional
A snippet from a new sports devotional, The Spirit of Victory. Available through your favourite bookstore.
The Great Exchange: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
In March 2004 Australia’s swimmers were competing at the Australian championships for a spot on the Olympic team. In the men’s 400 meters freestyle Ian Thorpe was a heavy favorite. He was the world record holder and won the gold medal at the previous Olympics.
As Thorpe lined up on the blocks for the start of the race the unthinkable happened; he overbalanced and fell in the pool. Thorpe was instantly disqualified and relatively unknown Craig Stevens qualified for a spot. The only way Thorpe could be selected for the men’s 400 meters freestyle would be for Stevens to step aside and let Thorpe swim.
After several weeks of deliberation, Craig Stevens gave up his spot in the race. It was a big sacrifice to make; the Olympic games don’t come around every day. Ian Thorpe went to the 2004 Athens games and won the gold medal in the 400 meters freestyle.
Ian Thorpe and Craig Stevens swapped places. Stevens made the sacrifice; Thorpe received all the benefits. This is what happened when Christ died in your place on the cross. Christ made the sacrifice so you could receive the blessing of being restored into right relationship with God.
Charles Spurgeon said you stand before God as if you were Christ because Christ stood before God as if he were you. This is the great exchange; Christ got everything wrong about you so that you could receive everything that’s right about him.
I could turn up at your house on Christmas day and offer you a present. It might be a wonderful present that cost me a lot of money. If you don’t let me in when I knock on the door, if you don’t accept the gift I’m offering then all my effort, all my sacrifice was for nothing.
Jesus hung on a cross so you could receive his forgiveness and be in right relationship with God. Have you received his forgiveness? Have you opened the door to Christ? Have you turned to Christ and asked him to be the king of your life?
Travis Barnes lives in central Victoria with his wife and two daughters. He is a contributor for Christian Today and a sportswriter.