It is hard to miss that the Super Bowl is being played this weekend in Minneapolis. The hometown was hoping for the honor that they would be the first Super Bowl to host the home team. It almost happened. Instead, they are going down in the record books as the coldest Super Bowl of all time. . . . . . . . . . .
Symbols of honor have always existed whether it be rings or medals. In Roman times, a leafy garland would be worn as a crown on the heads of champions. The Bible frequently alludes to these crowns and the victors that wear them.
One picture comes from the book of Revelation. Here we discover twenty-four champions who remove their crowns of honor and return them to the one who has honored them. This may not seem strange until you compare it to the present contest.
And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
Would and entire team of athletes at their ring ceremony approach the microphone and say, “You know, if it were not for the NFL, I would not be here today. I would not be receiving my multi-million dollar salary. Everything I am, I owe to the NFL, and for that reason I am returning this mark of my personal achievement.” I think not. They would say, “I won it; I deserve the honor. Now give it to me!” This being the case, why would these champions of God return their medals of honor?
Imagine that you are near death. Your entire hope rests upon a heart surgeon. However, you have no means to pay for the surgery. The doctor assures you that he will pay all the expenses. All you have to do is trust him. You consent, and he performs a difficult by-pass surgery.
As you recuperate, he instructs you to engage in a change of life-style. You are given instructions regarding your diet and exercise to restore you to health. In addition, he asks for a time of regular meeting to track your progress and hear of your concerns. You heed the doctor's advice.
You remain faithful to his instructions. At each weekly check-up, he asks if you have remained faithful. Often, but not always, you tell him that you have. He is pleased and encourages you to keep it up. When you do not, he encourages you to admit to the failures and turn from them, and then he encourages you to get back into the battle for your health.
One day, you receive and invitation in the mail that invites you to a dinner. The host is the same heart surgeon. You accept the invitation and attend on the appointed night. All costs and transportation have been provided. He has even secured the clothing you will wear to this fine occasion. No expense has been spared on his account.
As you reach the dinner you discover others in the crowd are former patients. They, too, have been restored to health by the heart surgery of this man and faithfulness to his prescribed routines. Like yourself, they also have nothing but praise and thanks for this surgeon.
After a great meal at his expense, he approaches the microphone. He then states that the reason for this banquet is to honor those who have been faithful to his orders over the past year. One by one, he calls off the names and invites each to come to the front to receive a special gift. You hear him call your name. As you open your gift, you discover a gold ring with a diamond mounted on it. The inscription inside reads, "Well done, thou good and faithful patient."
What would your feelings be? Would you for one minute think that the praise for what has been accomplished belongs to you? Would you forget his sacrifice? Would you forget that all of this was done to give life to you? He received nothing for his part. Would this not be similar to what the 24 elders will express when they return the crowns to Jesus