Christ is the Supreme Gold Medalist
September 14, 2016 | by: Dave Maniquis | 1 Comments
Posted in: Theology
The 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio had over 11,000 athletes from more than 200 member nations of the International Olympic Committee participate in the event. You’d be surprised that I thought long and hard about participating myself. However, to my chagrin, jogging wasn’t listed as an acceptable event. What’s that about? Does everything have to be quick? Are only the speedy to be rewarded with gold? Come on, plastic would work for me. No? Oh, alright…I settled for watching real athletes at their craft. Whew! That’s why they’re called gold medalists! Fast and furious!
After great anticipation and the exuberance of seeing these competitors stretch their bodies and spirits to their extreme physical and mental endurance, 307 of them were awarded the honor of ascending the podium to receive the coveted gold metal. One can only imagine a gold medalist’s exhilaration at receiving that gold disc suspended on a ribbon. It symbolizes the fulfillment of a relentlessly pursued dream; hours, days, months, years of sacrifice and the labor of discipline that has no mercy for mediocrity.
Perhaps you’ve observed Gold Medalists receiving the 60mm in diameter x 3mm thick disc and then biting it. Yep, biting it! Tradition has it that this tooth test goes back to biting a coin to determine if it was solid gold or not. Gold is a soft metal, especially 24k gold, which allows teeth mark impressions since your tooth enamel is harder than that yellow stuff. It was a way of seeing if it a coin was just gold plated over lead or some other base metal inside. Sneaky, huh? The plating could be bitten through with a person’s pearly whites so it didn’t take as much pressure to bite through a plated surface like it does today to bite through those hormone injected steaks we eat. So, there you have it. The Gold Medalist can tell if the combined 6 grams of gold and 494 grams of silver is real and has the value of approximately $565.62, based on current precious metal prices.
Let’s face it. For the Gold Medalists it was probably just a gentle “teeth-touch” or a “lipping.” No one would think that these athletes were really checking for authenticity by gnawing on the medal. And what Gold Medalist would want their tooth imprint on their hard-earned medal anyway. It’s tradition; it’s for photographers to archive all this chomping on discs and for the public to appreciate. Actually, it’s a pretty cool tradition that lives on even if there are some stodgy dentists out there who might be appalled at the risks.
An interesting correspondence is taking place. The tradition of biting the gold medal suggests that the medal is real gold (at least 6 grams of it) and that, in turn, possession of the medal reflects that the athlete is authentic. They have outperformed all others in the respective event. In a manner of speaking, athlete and medal are authenticating each other as the real deal.
It brings to mind the same correspondence that transpires for the Christian. What happens is God’s loving grace draws you near through the faith He provides and regenerates your mind so you have the capacity to know if you’re real or faking it. (see blog: 52 Words Every Christian Should Know – Words 36 & 43). There’s no metal biting, no icon rubbing, just the Cross to behold and consider the divine Olympian event that took place there 2,000 years ago. Jesus did receive His “gold medal”---it was a cruciform piece of wood. And God the Father authenticated His Son and then both sent forth the Holy Spirit to continually instruct others who desire “the gold”—the saving grace of God’s love. Jesus’ authentication infuses the New Testament: “…and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: 'You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.'" (Luke 3:22b; Mark 1:11; 2 Peter 1:17--NIV). This is the triadic and Holy Olympic Committee.
At Rio this 2016 the Olympic Gold Medalist couldn’t fake it- either they won or they didn’t. Their gold medal confirms their victory. It’s the same for the Christian who professes Christ as their Lord and Savior- either He is in you or not. Just like a coin could be fake with the gold surface hiding the baseness of the metal underneath, so it is with the professing Christian who has the correct Christian lingo, outwardly displays moral rectitude, attends church, is busy, busy, busy with “church” things, while underneath there’s a “base metal” that needs to be dealt with and exposed before God. It is for each individual to self-evaluate, based on Scripture, to determine if they are authentic or merely plated with Christian trimmings. God knows the heart, He knows who are His. He doesn’t need a bite test.
The amazing reality is that God’s will is that you too experience the authentication of God’s pleasure in you that He has for His Son. And it’s confirmed by the Holy Spirit living in you; a confirmation that the pleasure that God the Father has for His Son is now taken in you as well owing to Jesus’ achievement above all contenders, bar none. The Christian’s Gold Medal is Christ Himself.
Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure.
2 Peter 1:10; NIV)
Dave Maniquis is a Teaching Elder at Restoration Church. He holds a BA in History from Rutgers University and an MA in Biblical Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary. He enjoyed a 23-year career in the U.S. Government, working and traveling extensively in Western and Eastern Europe. He has been a Christian for most of his adult life and has been involved in church planting, overseas as well as here in Port Orange, teaching the Bible and speaking into others’ lives with the Gospel. He is married to Maureen and they have two wonderful sons, Dylan and Evan.