In February of 1964 Cassius Clay, otherwise known as Muhammad Ali, shocked the world by declaring “I am the greatest!” before his fight with then heavyweight champion of the world Sonny Liston. Shortly thereafter, he won the fight by technical knockout in the 7th round. What started on that day resulted in a run of some of the greatest boxing that the world has ever seen. Ali knew that he was a skilled fighter, and he proved it to the world with one impressive fight after another. He has gone down in history as one of the greatest of all time.
What distinguishes Ali from so many other boxers is that he faced many tough challengers. He fought against the likes of Joe Frazier and George Foreman, two legends in the sport. His road was not easy, but his successes and failures made him one of the greatest.
Everyone has his or her fights. We face opponents every bit as strong as Frazier, Foreman, or even Tyson. The greatest enemies on our fight schedule are sin and death. They have been gunning for us since our careers first began. The problem for us is that we cannot win. These two opponents will knock us out in the first round without breaking a sweat.
From the beginning, God knew that we could not last. He knew that in order for us to have any hope of victory, we must rely on someone else. In a few weeks, we are celebrating the day that the true fighter stood up. We are celebrating the day that he came into the world and took on flesh, so that he could win the victory for us.
As we got strapped into our gloves and put on the silk robe, “The Greatest of All Eternity” walked in and volunteered to fight for us. At first, he did not look like much, having been born in a manger and growing up a carpenter’s son in the streets of Nazareth. Then he started his career and every fight he won by KO in the first round. This is when he stepped in for us and prepared for the fight.
He was not one who shied away from trash talk. He predicted the destruction of sin and death many times throughout his career. Any time the mic was held up to him, he predicted his ultimate victory through his death and resurrection. He stepped into the ring as one who knew nothing other than victory. The bell rang and the boxers gather for the bout of eternal proportions. Sin and death tried to jab, hook , and uppercut, but could not touch the Christ. For a while it seemed as if Jesus was toying with his enemy and knew that he was in a whole other league. Then he began to retaliate with a punch of his own, and with a hard right hook, he knocked out the opponent and was glorified as the undisputed champion of all eternity. He wore the belt, was given the crown, and took a seat on the glorious throne.
All of this happened because the true greatest decided to step into the ring for us. He put on our gear, taking humanity upon himself through birth, and won the fight in a landslide victory. I am so thankful that we can celebrate that victory this month. Sin and death have been defeated and “The Greatest of All Eternity” sits on the throne. We no longer have to fear. We no longer have to live in guilt. We have been forgiven, we have been save because he fought for us. Thanks be to God!