The Race

Imagine the starting line of a marathon. Runners of all ages and backgrounds press up to the line, awaiting the firing of the starter pistol. One group of highly trained athletes, having diligently practiced for months, crouch down, ready for action. They are focused, intense. There is not an ounce of fat on any of them. This is the moment they have been waiting for.

Next to them, a vastly larger group of runners are gathered. They seem unaware of what they are doing. Milling around aimlessly, many overweight and awkward, they laugh and play with one another. Meanwhile, the serious athletes look over their shoulders at their goofy competitors and wonder, with irritation, who these clowns are and where they came from. After a few minutes, they begin to chuckle, shake their heads, and resume their intense stance, ready to run at a moment’s notice.

Now imagine in the moment before the crack of the gun, all the highly trained athletes are made deaf. At the sound of the shot, the gaggle of amateur runners move haphazardly forward, stumbling and distracted. The crouching athletes begin looking at one another, wondering what has happened. As they resume their stance, to await the gunshot that would begin the race, their overweight competitors move down the course and out of sight.

The gaggle continues to move towards the finish line, still wondering what is wrong with the clueless athletes waiting at the starting line. It seems strange that despite their preparation for the race, they refuse to run. They must know nothing about running, after all.  But as the group moves to within a quarter mile of the finish line, their highly trained competitors suddenly recover their hearing. Realizing what has happened, they dash down the course, catching up with the herd at the moment they cross the finish line, to the cheers of all who are watching. It is, in the end, a tie.

For 3,000 years, the Jews have diligently studied the scriptures. They are awaiting the fulfillment of God’s promise, the coming of Messiah. They prepared for this moment a thousand years before the birth of Jesus, and their knowledge of the Hebrew scripture dwarfs that of virtually every Gentile believer. This is because the Word was entrusted to God’s people. As Jesus said, salvation is of the Jews.

While Gentile believers killed one another, arguing over whether Jesus was resurrected with a human body, these men understood how Messiah can be fully human and yet remain the God of Jacob. They understand that the message of Emmanuel was declared at the birth of the Universe, that men are saved before the earth was formed. Indeed, the Jews long for the passionate intimacy Yahweh desires with each and every one of His people. Yet they recognize He is utterly beyond the wildest imagination of mankind.

Absolutely sure God loves them more than His natural children, most Gentiles cling to the hope God loves them in spite of their humanity. To the Jews, Christians appear to be just above simpletons, stumbling towards a God they barely know. To the Gentiles, Jews appear as a people God trained to run the race, but who stubbornly refuse to move when the LORD says, “Go!”

The chosen people realize God would not tell them if He were hungry, and yet believe, He came to eat dinner with Abraham. These are the people of Jacob, who wrestled Yahweh to the ground for a blessing, though He spread out the heavens like a curtain. This is in contrast to Christians, who often believe God cannot stand to look at them, unless they are disguised as Jesus.

The blindfold is about to be removed, and the people who have waited for Messiah for 3,000 years are going to run the race. The gaggle of bumbling Christians, who stumble towards a Yahweh they dimly know, are about to experience a mighty rushing wind. It will be the sound of the Spirit of God, sweeping His natural children across the finish line at the speed of light.