In a 110 meters hurdles event at the Chinese University Games, a hurdler took a whole new approach to the race.
Straight from the start, he failed to clear the first hurdle and clipped the top of it.
When he tried to clear the second hurdle, it was even worse. He ended up knocking it heavily which almost caused him to fall over as he veered into his fellow competitor’s lane.
Hitting hurdles are nothing new and even the professionals often clip them. But clipping them and this man’s approach are two different things. After the second hurdle – he just gave up with trying to jump them and instead, began running through them.
Initially, his approach worked and he built up quite a bit of speed! However, after smashing into one hurdle it became wrapped around his neck and caused him to lose balance. He was determined, however, so he dusted himself off, and ultimately limped across the finish line. Believe it or not – he did NOT finish last!
I imagine if we were to check out his chest the next day we’d see a lot of bruises. But – the bottom line is he was able to burst through the hurdles.
So was Jesus.
We read in Matthew that at the time of the death of Jesus the Temple curtain that had separated the Holy of Holies from the people was ripped in two, from top to bottom. No longer was there a physical separation between the presence of God and the people.
This was one of the things Jesus had been trying to teach all along with the statements from the Sermon on the Mount. All the “Blessed are those . . .” or “O the bliss of those . . .” that God and the Kingdom of God/presence of God was not only for one person to experience and then “pass along” to others. God’s love, presence, grace, forgiveness, and peace was available to all. In order to claim that and live into it, they (and we) had to live in certain ways.
Jesus wanted the people to know that only God sees the whole heart of people and creating hurdles for people to find God was NOT acceptable on any level.
Jesus bulldozed through the ten circles. He metaphorically went running down the hill, grabbing the hands of EVERYONE around him, the poor, the prostitutes, the women, the children, the tax collectors, the lepers . . . EVERYONE . . . and rushed into the Holy of Holies. No more animal sacrifices required . . . just a purity of heart.
Are our hearts humble, open, and seeking Christ even when we doubt, question, and ignore him at the same time?
That is what he is looking for . . .