Otto Schnellbacher and I were both born and raised in the small Western Kansas town of Sublette. Otto was several years older than I, but his athletic accomplishments were known by everyone there. He took his high school basketball team to its first ever state championship; He was an all-star in both basketball and football at Kansas University; He was all-pro in professional basketball and set records in the National Football League for the New York Giants. He was called “The Double Threat From Sublette” by the press. He left K. U. for 3 years to serve in World War II, then picked up right where he left off. He was big, strong, fast, smart and extremely competitive. He met all the expectations one wants in a hero.
I finally got to meet him at a banquet at which he was inducted into the Wall of Honor at the local high school. He had retired and gone on to have an equally distinguished career in business in Topeka, Kansas. He was confident and polite but still humble and gracious. He was and remains the most famous person to have been born in our town. A real hero.
When the Godhead was planning to send God the Son to the earth to become a man, they could have arranged for Him to be as huge as Goliath and as strong as Samson. They could have given him the good looks of David and the brain of Gamaliel (Act 5:34). But instead, Jesus was born and lived as a normal human with none of those qualities (Isa 53:2). He became the most famous person who has ever lived and our hero for very different reasons.
Jesus was strong in compassion (Mt 9:36) (Mk 1:41), love (Jo 13:1) (Jo 15:9-10), and sacrifice (Jo 15:12-13). In the 4 gospels we learn of His wisdom, patience, service, loyalty, grace and a host of other admirable gifts. In fact, every positive trait one could expect in a spiritual hero. He was honored by His Apostles and disciples, but rejected and despised (Isa 53:3) and crucified by the leaders of His country. One of the reasons was possibly because He didn’t fit the physical expectations for a king and hero.
Those who are in Christ (Rom 6:3) (Gal 3:26-27) (Ro 8:1) will honor Him at that great reunion in the sky (1 Th 4:16-17). He is mighty as we see in His creation (Col 1:16-17) and He is righteous and just (Mt 25:31-46). Those who don’t love and obey Him will ultimately bow their knees before Him and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord (Rom 14:11) (Php 2:10). He will reign as local, national and universal hero forever (2 Th 1:6-9).