Our own Pastor Russ Wilson is a passionate Miami Dolphins fan. Some of you are too. Coach Don Shula, the “winningest” coach in NFL history, left this life on Monday, May 4. He was 90. I remember once answering incorrectly a trivia question about “the only perfect season in NFL history,” and of course the correct answer was Shula. (For sports fans, that was 1972.)
This pic was from 1964 when the Baltimore Colts clinched a division title. In 1963, the year I was born, Shula had become the league’s youngest head coach in history. He was 33. Fast forward: an expressway, a couple of restaurants, an endowed chair of philosophy, and of course a football field, all named for Shula – that’s quite a legacy any way you slice it. 33 seasons and 347 games! That makes for a long, full life, doesn’t it? Dan Marino said of Coach Shula this week: “He embodied the definition of greatness.”
The only perfect season.
If you’ve ever thought deeply about that word “perfect,” you’ve also likely realized how few things we can describe as such. We may speak of “the perfect vacation” or “the perfect pizza,” but we immediately recognize that – when we do use the word like that – we’re not really referring to absolute perfection.
The wondrously good news of the gospel is that Christ has imputed his perfect righteousness to us. That’s an amazing truth! Our Lord hasn’t just made us a little better, or pushed us a little further down the field, or even gotten us within inches of the goal line … but He has freely given to us all of the merits of His own perfect life and death! In Christ, as His redeemed, we can stand before God perfectly acquitted. This startling transaction happened at the Cross, and was validated at the empty tomb!
That’s a very good thing because only perfect righteousness can stand in the presence of a perfect God. “In Christ” is my only hope, and yours. The life and death of Jesus is truly the only perfect season.
We’re not guaranteed 90 years, so now is the time to make sure that we’re right with our great Creator and King. Friends, that’s what I wanted to share with you today. The other Charles (Wesley) penned it like this:
Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!
Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Foll’wing our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!
We may never be carried on the shoulders of the players on our team after a great victory. Wonderful as that must be, a more important victory must drive you, and it must drive me. It’s the victory which Christ has won on our behalf: “It is finished!”
Yours for the victory,