Jesus and the High Jump Bar

Peter Tsukahira shared a thought in his about to be published book, Culture of the Kingdom – A Journey of Restoration, which intrigued me.

The Olympics are underway in London, England. Historically, the Olympics are all about track and field. People used to see how fast athletes could run, jump and throw. To our enjoyment, it has expanded to include a myriad of events.

One field event that had its genesis in ancient Greece is the high jump. It is incredible how high the human body can leap in the air over a horizontal bar placed at ascending heights. Normally, they start the event at around two meters or six feet five inches. 

According to the rules, everyone starts by jumping the minimum height. The bar is raised and all the successful athletes jump again. This process continues until there is just one jumper remaining who claims the gold. Then, they normally set the bar just beyond the Olympic record or the world record. They continue to raise the bar until no one is successful. 

From this point, let me quote Peter.

“Reading in the Bible about God’s law, I felt it was a lot like high jumping. Let’s say that God’s requirement in the Torah is represented by placing the bar at a certain level. In the Ten Commandments, God says, ‘You shall not commit murder.’  Now, we all have to try to jump that bar. Those who fail are punished. Although some do fail, most of us have learned to jump at least that high.

Is Jesus saying that since He has fulfilled the laws of God there is to be no more ‘jumping’ in God’s kingdom? Is He saying that now we have unlimited grace, mercy and love in the New Testament so that we can remove the ‘bar’ of God’s lawful requirements? No, Jesus obviously did not say that. In fact, what He did teach in His Sermon on the Mount is that rather than removing the bar, He raised it! I could understand that people who were able to meet Jesus’ perfect standards would not only please God, but they would also bring the culture of His kingdom wherever they went. However, faced with these requirements, I knew I was guilty before God’s laws, but not just guilty, I was destined to fail. Even if I loved Jesus and wanted to serve Him with all my heart, I simply could not ‘jump’ high enough to win the prize of righteousness and my King’s approval. If I had to successfully obey these perfect laws to enter Jesus’ kingdom, what would become of me in the end? Who would save me from my failure?”

The answer is Jesus. The Bibles tells us “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus”. In other words, we are declared righteous because of Jesus and not because we are capable of jumping over a moral bar set impossibly high.

The King of kings went to the cross to die for our inability to jump over the bar of God’s perfect laws. Have you come to the point in your life where you have embraced this reality?

Something to think about...