When Roger Federer, the greatest tennis player of all time, won his first round match of the 2016 Wimbledon Tennis Championships, the story spread like wildfire. Not because of the win, which every person across the globe expected, but because of who his second-round opponent was. Marcus Willis.
Marcus Willis was an out of shape 25-year-old tennis coach making 40 bucks an hour teaching kids to play around London, living with his mom and dad, and ranked 772 in the world. If he was 172 in the world, he would stand no chance against Federer—who regularly ate up guys in the top 10. But Willis happened to be the last man invited to participate in a playoff for British players to earn a wild card into Wimbledon and after winning three matches there, won three more qualifying matches to miraculously earn a spot into the Wimbledon main draw.
Then, as if that wasn’t freakish enough, in the first round he played Ricadas Berankis, ranked 54 in the world—and beat him in straight sets.
And suddenly the unimaginable was happening.
Federer, whose kindness and generosity are legendary, looked at the near impossible moment and saw an opportunity. It was reported that before he and Willis were to take Centre Court, of all places, he went into the locker room to find Willis and make him an offer.
Noting the unrealistic-to-unthinkable likelihood of Willis ever playing again on Centre Court, he wanted to give him the option to come out second—the position reserved for the star.
“This moment is all about you,” it was reported he told Willis. And when the introductions were made, Roger came out first.
When Willis stepped onto the court, the British fans gave a thunderous, arena-rattling ovation for the local boy taking the hero’s walk. When the news came out that Roger had done such a thing, hearts again turned toward Federer in gratitude for his display of such grace. It made the world feel good.
But whereas Marcus Willis earned his way onto the stage, the greatest display of grace in the history of mankind was shown to someone who never earned a thing. You and me. In fact, our record is of extreme, consistent failure. And yet Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross, taking on our 0-1,000,000 win-loss record on Himself so we could take the hero’s walk into the presence of God who awaits us in heaven.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus, who presents us as having a perfect record to His Father, make you feel glad-hearted and grateful today.
POSTSCRIPT: Roger defeated Marcus 6-0 6-3 6-4