Redefining the Race – Acts 21:18-23:11January 18, 2015
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Speaker: Jerry Cisar
Did you know that a group of humans can beat a herd of antelope in a race? That people can beat horses? And that, if they can avoid getting eaten, they can even win the race with a cheetah? You might be thinking, “This would take a super human.” Not at all. Now it will require that these people be in good condition (no couch potato is going to win). But in order to accomplish this feat, we simply have to redefine the race; we have to move the finish line.
Human beings are uniquely designed in a way that gives us an advantage over all other animals in a race. That may well help us understand something about how Paul was enabled to finish the race, to complete the task. And that will help each of us assess how we are to finish the race. In order to do so, we must define the race correctly.
In this Sunday’s text we discover that finishing the race for Paul, counting his life as nothing, was not about going to Jerusalem to die. Jerusalem is not the finish line, but a mere check point along the way. As one commentator says, “There would be no more miraculous releases from prison…for Paul; rather, there would be real experiences of weakness and suffering, with no final resolution of the matter by the end of the book.” (Ben Witherington)
Not only do people have a unique advantage over every other animal, believers have a unique advantage that will help us finish the race as well. But we have to know what the race is. We have to know where the finish line is.