It’s a trope that Hollywood uses often: the underdog faces impossible odds in a contest with the favored, beloved champion. As the movie progresses, anything that can go wrong for the underdog goes wrong, and everything works out for the champion, making the odds that much more impossibler. Then comes the final showdown or the last battle for supremacy. When the competition starts, the champion shows why he/she’s the champion and things look bad for the underdog. People are cheering for the champion to finish the underdog off, only, he/she fends off the killing blow and gets in a quick counter-attack which throws the champion off guard. The underdog begins to gain confidence. The crowd starts cheering for the underdog and, buoyed by new confidence and the cheers of the crowd, the underdog bounces off the mat and emerges victorious while the crowd screams and cheers.
Details may vary a little of course, but this is the basic plot of many movies and/or books that come out these days. It’s a story, a trope, really, as old as time itself. It’s also the story of the end of time, so to speak. In fact, that’s the story of the end times as seen in the Revelation. Christians are a band of nobodies or, as noted in a recent Sidewalk Prophets song, a “motley crew of misfits,” who come from all walks of life with one thing in common: a commitment to Jesus Christ. As their numbers begin to grow, the powers that be in the mightiest empire the world has seen decides to squash them. The persecution begins. Just like in the movies, everything seems to go wrong. Leaders are killed or imprisoned and exiled. But…as Christians are dying, their last words inspire people. Soon, even during persecution, people notice that the number of Christians increases. This infuriates the powers that be, and we head to the last battle, headed by the beast, and all the Christians have to face the beast is the Lamb. “They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” (Revelation 17:14)
The beast against the Lamb seems like an unfair fight when you look at the tale of the tape. In numbers, in size, in wealth, the beast far outpaced the Lamb and those who followed Him, or so it seemed. What they missed was that the power of God far outweighs any earthly power, including the power of Rome. As the battle began, Vegas oddsmakers hit their limit at 1000-1 odds and people were still betting on Rome, or Babylon the Great, as described here. Then, the battle began and while the beast took the lead, soon the blood of the martyrs made an impact and more people joined the Lamb. Then, the Lamb revealed Himself as Lord of lords, and King of kings and the battle turned. The Lamb emerged victorious and the beast, and Babylon the Great, and all their followers were cast down, awaiting their fate.
This is a reminder to wait until the end of the game, so to speak. If you’re old enough, you remember when NBC executives switched from the game between the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders to begin airing the movie “Heidi.” There was a minute left in the game and the Raiders were down by ten points when the network switched to the movie. In one of the greatest comebacks in football, the Raiders scored two touchdowns in that minute and won the game. It’s easy to get discouraged as a Christian when it seems like everything is going wrong. John’s message to those who might be discouraged still rings true today: hold on, stay faithful. I’ve read the back of the book and I can tell you that God will be victorious with His faithful followers beside Him. It may be tempting to turn your back on God as you go through various troubles. I’ve read the back of the book. It’s worth it. Stay faithful.
Lord, sometimes this world has troubles that bring great discouragement. Encourage us with Your love.