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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

The Battered Jersey

I plopped down on the couch and tuned in to the Antique Road Show.

“I have an old jersey from a famous football player,” the eager candidate displayed an old stained t-shirt for the antique road appraiser, grinning. “My wife and I were going through my bedroom at my folk’s house. I lifted the lid on an old trunk that hadn’t been opened for 30 years… and pulled this out. I’d forgotten all about it.”

He laughed exclaiming, “I know it’s in bad shape. My wife said we’ll just tie it and use it for a rag. But it was a gift from a sport shop customer when I was a teenager in 1965. He knew Gayle Sayers, the Chicago Bears Running Back ( football Hall of Famer) who was my hero,” he stated proudly.  

The Appraiser looked over the beat-up cotton shirt.

“Nowadays athletes wear their jerseys once and give them away practically new. But a jersey like this ... look at it.”

He held it up and slowly turned it over, scanning every inch. I strained my eyes and even from my living room spot could see marks and large areas of discoloration and stains.

Not worth much, I thought.

The appraiser spoke reverently of each mark.

“It has obviously been worn a lot, in game after game. Not only are there sweat stains and grime and even blood,” he pointed to where a patch existed, “It has been torn and patched. The battering this jersey took makes it even more valuable.”

The customer gazed harder at the guesstimator. I leaned closer and turned up the volume.

“I think this jersey is worth about $30,000.”

The owner stepped back stunned, exclaiming, “To think my wife wanted to use it for a rag!” He swiped his eye with a palm.

“The beating it took makes it even more valuable!” Chills went up my spine.

At our church, we had participated in the Stations of the Cross. Fresh from the pages of the Book, the descriptive text of Jesus’ trial and scourging, crown of thorns, and blood-stained body flashed anew. The soldiers cast lots for his clothes (John 19:24).

Surely our Lord fought an incredible battle for us so that we could be on His winning team. Truly his zeal and love, the perseverance to the cross is our greatest victory — freedom from sin and free access to heaven. He ran the course and never dropped the ball. He persevered and sacrificed his life.

Still, some treat Jesus as a discard, some historical figure from the past who holds no value for them presently. And then there are those who run to Him and pay Him homage as their Hero. Have we forgotten our Lord’s sacrifice? Do we remember what He did back there on the cross?

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5, RSV)

Copyright © Dee Aspin. Used by permission.

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