Do You Have Olympic-Like Feet?
There’s a pilgrimage going on right now. People are lining the streets to watch the Olympic flame make its way to Olympic Stadium in London, England. In the months leading up to the Olympics, 8,000 torch bearers will carry the flame toward London. On the evening of July 27, it will enter the stadium, the final ceremonial act of the opening of the 30th Olympic Games.
The Opening Ceremony is usually the highest-rated event of the Olympic Games. Tens of millions of people from around the world will tune in to watch the athletes and delegates march into Olympic Stadium behind their country’s flag bearer. It is one of the few moments in time when the world’s attention is focused on one event, when the nations of the world gather together in peace and harmony. Forget the competition, the podium, and the feel-good stories of athletes who persevered to get to London—the Olympics offers us a glimpse of the kind of harmonious world God envisioned since the beginning of time. In Revelation 7:9-12, we see an end-times scenario where the focus isn’t on who will win the high jump or the marathon. The nations will gather with a singular focus on God:
After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a great roar,
“Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne
and from the Lamb!”
And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living beings. And they fell before the throne with their faces to the ground and worshiped God. They sang,
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom
and thanksgiving and honor
and power and strength belong to our God
forever and ever! Amen” (NLT).
The contrast between the Olympic Games, an event to celebrate the glory of men and women, and the scene out of Revelation 7, where the focus is on God’s glory, is striking, isn’t it?
The Olympic Games gives us a glimpse of the kind of world described in Revelation, and the Bible is full of verses that ask Christians to establish an Opening-Ceremonies-style world where all cultures and races gather together in harmonious praise of God. Throughout the New Testament, Jesus urged his disciples to spread the Good News to everyone, not just the Jews. In Matthew 28:18-20 we read of the great commission: “Jesus came and told his disciples, ‘I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age’” (NLT)
While Matthew 28 is the oft-quoted passage about our commission to spread the Good News of Jesus to all nations, one of my favorite passages that aims its crosshairs at us Christians comes in Romans 10:11-15:
As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” (NLT)
The last question in this passage could have been, “And who will be sent?” The answer, of course, is you and me.
While the world will be brought together on July 27 to admire the feet of elite athletes from around the world who will run, jump, and balance to the delight of millions, isn’t it cool that your average feet and my old feet are the ones described in the Bible as beautiful when we use them to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world?
How are you using your feet to fill a stadium with believers from around the world? What about your neighborhood?
Ron DeBoer is an educator and writer living near Toronto.