The World Cup Final has gone to penalties. You have put yourself forward to take the first one. You place the ball carefully, mindful that the world is watching, step back a few paces and wait for the whistle… You run forward. The keeper moves to his left, so you calmly slot the ball to his right. To your utter horror the ball skims the post and runs agonisingly wide. You sink to your knees in despair.
The walk back to your crestfallen teammates feels like a death march. All you notice is the relieved looking face of their first penalty taker. He smashes his penalty into the roof of the net. No one else misses. A 5-4 defeat. Back home the nation mourns. The despair will live with you for the rest of your life.
The one thought, ‘If only I could do it again.’
Missing a penalty is nothing when compared with missing the mark set by God. When we fail to live how He commands, for example: when we put anything before Him; when we put ourselves before others, we miss that mark.
All of us have missed it. It is what the Bible calls sin.
It is only through hearing or reading His Word (the Bible) that we begin to realise just how much we always miss that mark.When we start to feel this, a sinking feeling comes upon us: guilt.
We think, ‘If only I could go back and do things differently.’
The Bible says that we will have to answer to God for all our sin. Many people will wish then that somehow the record of their lives could be wiped clean, but it will be too late. The despair will remain with them forever.
But it does not have to be that way. The wonderful Good News is that Jesus Christ came to save sinners. When He was crucified on a cross, Jesus took upon Himself all our guilt, all our missing the target. He took the punishment we deserve, through His suffering and death. He didn’t miss the target, but paid the price fully.
In Jesus Christ you can start again.
Just imagine if you could take the penalty again. You know the keeper is going left; this time, firmly and calmly, you place it straight down the middle… Unfortunately, you don’t get a second chance at the World Cup, but you do with Jesus Christ…. Will you take it…?