In an increasingly dark world the concept of excellence may still be seen in its purest form in the sports arena, where individuals and groups meet in open competition that produces a winner. Here the Olympic Games still represents the pinnacle of achievement, crowning athletes who excel over their peers in grueling, objective sporting contests.
Alas, every other field of human endeavor – art or science or music or literature or the academy itself – is corrupted by socio-political interests and cultural degradation to the point that what may be seen as excellent is often merely sensational or politically correct or appeals to the basest human instincts. When foul-mouthed hip-hop thugs become role models and vacuous movie stars are idolized and utterly corrupt political leaders are lauded for their dubious achievements it is clear that excellence in the 21st century is measured by the standards of a fetid swamp in which monsters thrive.
Jesus Christ provides a stark contrast to such a gloomy backdrop of human failure. He is the central figure in an unchanging Book that sets unchanging standards and exalts unchanging verities like truth, honesty, justice, and purity, and loveliness and beauty and virtue.
The Bible describes Jesus as the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valleys. He is a tree bearing fruit and we are invited to sit down under His shadow with great delight, where His fruit is sweet to our taste. He is altogether lovely; superlative in a world made mediocre by sin and rebellion against God.
When He draws near the flowers appear on the earth, the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle dove is heard in the land. He is a mountain of myrrh, and a hill of frankincense. He is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending. He is the brightness of the glory of God, the express image of His person; He upholds all things by the word of His power, for all things were made by Him, and for Him. He loves righteousness, and hates iniquity. He is the light bringer to a world that does not understand light, a world where men choose darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. But in the hearts of those who love Him, His light overwhelms the darkness.
In the brief record of His life on earth we are told, “He went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). He is still going about doing good in and through the lives of those who know Him.