Can anyone tell me what two big sporting events are happening at the moment – they both begin with ‘W’? The World Cup and Wimbledon! Do you remember Wimbledon last year? Did you see Andy Murray’s great triumph? He was our national hero and champion – Britain’s first male winner of Wimbledon in 77 years. His picture was on the front page of every newspaper. A sporting victory to celebrate for once!
I used to live in Wimbledon, and during the tennis fortnight some of us from local churches used to go out to see people camping out overnight for a tennis ticket. They would pitch their tents by the roadside, and we would give them free food and drinks to show God’s love. We would also give them a little leaflet. A little leaflet explaining that whoever wins Wimbledon isn’t actually the world’s greatest champion. It explained that the greatest Champion in the world isn’t Murray, Djokovic, Sharapova or Serena Williams, but Jesus. Jesus is the true Champion of the world.
Our Bible reading this morning, from Paul’s letter to the Philippians, explains why Jesus is so special.
- Andy is fully fit…but Jesus is fully God!
To win at Wimbledon, Andy Murray needed to be physically fit. He had to be strong and healthy enough for seven matches in a fortnight. He has a team of medical experts who help him keep fit and eat well. For months before Wimbledon Andy needed to eat the right food, drink the right drinks and do all the right exercises to be physically ready and fully fit – in other words, to be a healthy human being.
But the amazing thing about Jesus is that he wasn’t just a healthy human being, he was also fully God! Our Bible reading today reminds us that Jesus is “by very nature God” (v.6). In other words, Jesus was God made man. Amazing as it may seem, when Jesus was born God’s Son had come to dwell in a human body. The Creator of the universe had come to live on Earth. Philippians tells us Jesus had “equality with God” his Father, but chose to live among us (v.6).
Because Jesus is fully divine, we can look to him to see what God is really like. Jesus said that to see him was to see God. That to meet him was to meet with God. So as we look at everything Jesus said and did, we see what God is really like. Revelation replaces speculation.
Andy Murray may be fully fit, but Jesus is fully God!
- Andy served for himself…but Jesus served for us!
Andy Murray has an amazing serve. He can hit the ball at well over 100 mph and served 89 aces during Wimbledon last year. Andy’s amazing serve helped him win Wimbledon’s first prize worth £1.6 million. But unlike Andy, Jesus came to serve us, not himself. Our reading from Philippians tells us that Jesus came from heaven to earth to be a “servant” (v.7).
The Son of God became a man to serve us. He came down to earth on a rescue mission. Jesus came down from heaven to make it possible for us to be forgiven friends of God forever! Jesus became a man not to win some prize money for himself, but to save us from our sin and put us right with God. Jesus can do us an amazing service – even better than Andy’s aces!
- Andy won on Court…but Jesus won on the Cross!
Andy Murray plays most of his Wimbledon matches on Centre Court, in front of 15,000 spectators. It was the place where last year he battled against all his opponents and where victory was won. It was the place where he showed such skill, endurance and determination to succeed. In years to come, whenever we think of Andy Murray we will think of him lifting up his golden Trophy there on Centre Court.
Jesus is also a great Champion, even though he never went to Centre Court. He went to a Cross instead. Jesus’ greatest challenge and his finest victory took place on a lonely Roman Cross 2000 years ago. Not at Wimbledon in July, but in Jerusalem at Passover. And it wasn’t a trophy that was lifted up, but Jesus’ own body. In an amazing act of courage, love and self-sacrifice, Jesus allowed himself to be nailed to a cross to pay the penalty for our wrongdoing. Our Bible reading from Philippians reminds us how amazing it is that Jesus was willing to die for us – “even death on a cross!” (v.8) When he died there a great victory over sin and evil was achieved. Andy won on Court, but Jesus won on the Cross!
- Andy’s king of Wimbledon…but Jesus is king of the World!
Andy Murray’s victory last year made him king of Wimbledon, the undisputed champion of SW19. Murray won his crown by beating the world number one Novak Djokovic in the final, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4. But Jesus isn’t merely the king of Wimbledon. He’s not just sovereign over a London borough like Wimbledon or Havering – Jesus is King over the whole World!
Because after his death on the cross he rose again and ascended into Heaven. As our Bible reading tells us, God the Father has “exalted Jesus to the highest place” (v.9). Jesus is in pole position over the universe, the rightful king of the cosmos. Philippians tell us that “every knee should bow” before Jesus and “every tongue confess that he is Lord” (v.10-11). Andy Murray may have been king of Wimbledon, but Jesus is king of the World!
Conclusion: Will you serve king Jesus?
As I finish this morning, we all face two questions. Firstly, have we made Jesus king of our lives? Whoever we are, the Lord Jesus wants us to turn to him for forgiveness and friendship with God forever. And he wants to rule over every area of our lives. We need to let King Jesus set the agenda for how we spend our money, use our time, and deploy our God-given talents.
Today’s Bible passage also sets us a second challenge. It challenges us to have the same attitude as Jesus (v.5). We Christians are to be as humble and servant-hearted towards each other as Christ was for us. For example, can we imitate Christ’s attitude by being willing to serve one another at St Michael’s in a new way? Perhaps as a welcomer on Sundays, or as a Sunday School teacher, or in an administrative, technical or pastoral role? Do please speak to me if you think God is calling you to serve at St. Michael’s. And thank you to those who already do so much. Thank you to all of you who already imitate our ‘Servant King’ with your humility, self-sacrifice and love.