Patrick Mahomes is a freak. Widely considered to be on an other-worldly trajectory, Mahomes is the young, brash, uber-talented quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs. How uber-talented is he? Mahomes threw a pass to Tyreek Hill in a 2018 preseason game that traveled 68.6 yards in the air—the longest pass that’s ever been measured. Most of us would have a hard time sprinting for 70 yards, let alone passing a ball that far!
There is a biblical word that should have Mahome’s picture next to it in the Greek/English lexicon of the New Testament (a Greek dictionary). The word is ὑπερβολή. It is a compound word uper (pronounced like uber, except with a “p”) bole (pronounced like a bullfighter’s “ole’”!). The prefix uper is the word from which we get “hyper”, it means excessive or exceeding the extraordinary. Bole comes from the root word ballot which means to throw or pass. Put the two together, and you have “hyper-pass”, or if you prefer, “uber-throw”. The imagery is profound, whatever this word qualifies is considered to be greater than everything else, higher than the apex of a storm cloud, deeper than the ocean floor, faster than light…. simply “beyond all.”
The reason I am thinking about this this morning is because this word appears in a Pauline passage. In this text, Paul leads off with this thought, “I’m about to tell you the Patrick Mahomes pass of Christian living.” The verse is translated in these ways…
“And now I will show you a way that is beyond comparison.” NET Bible
“And yet I will show you a still more excellent way [one of the choicest graces and the highest of them all…].” AMPLIFIED Bible
“And yet, I am going to show you a far better way.” NASB
“But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all.” NLT
“And yet I will show you the most excellent way.” NIV
“And now I will show you a 95 yard pass” PB paraphrase
Aren’t you curious what this is? This is a substantial setup, the kind that Paul isn’t going to be able to back track from. This is where Paul tells us the best thing, THE BEST THING.
This verse is 1 Corinthians 12:31. There were no chapter dividers in the original manuscripts, so the very next thing Paul writes is this:
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 NIV
Evangelicalism is struggling friends. I believe it is struggling because we have replaced love with other, less hyper-pass things.
Being right is hyper-pass
Being _____________ (put your denomination in the blank) is hyper-pass
Being mega is hyper-pass
Being excellent is hyper-pass
Being asleep/woke is hyper-pass
Being doctrinal is hyper-pass
Being relevant is hyper-pass
Being Premillennial/Postmillennial/Amillennial is hyper-pass
Being Calvinist/Arminian is hyper-pass
Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope!
Being loving is hyper-pass.
Paul said it as straightforwardly as he could have,
Jesus lived it emphatically,
God the Father is in essence it,
and the fruit of the Spirit is, Love…
If the church of Jesus was characterized by the words in 1 Cor. 13:1-7 ABOVE ALL ELSE, well that would be beautiful.
I holding out for this, this is where my focus is, each and every day.
Please join me.