Jesus, the Biggest Loser

by The Rev. Rich Heinz

A few seasons ago, before watching, I thought it was a mean, voyeuristic concept of a show. Put a bunch of overweight people on a ranch, make them work hard, and vote them off if they did not work hard enough.

Yet when I actually watched the program, I came to see it as much more. Even when the trainers are hard on their contestants, they are pushing them to excel and teaching them to cope with food, exercise, and life in general. When competitors are voted off, many others cry, as they actually become friends and support each other.

Of course, as I sit on the couch, eating a brownie and sipping Starbucks, I don’t think I’m complying with the choices that the show encourages – at least not all the time. On the other hand, the previous week my wife and I went outside and ran the hill of our driveway a couple times when the show was over.

As Pastor Borghardt and the entire HT staff would say, “Ah! The freedom of the Gospel!” Both the brownie and Starbucks, and the exercise are gifts from the Lord; and there is a time and a place for each.

On Biggest Loser, we see people taught good nutrition choices, great exercise in and out of the gym, and simply living a healthier lifestyle. The show is not about mocking large people. It is not about pitying them either. Biggest Loser is about teaching and encouraging viewers to live healthier lives, becoming Big Losers themselves.

When you think about it, Jesus is the Biggest Loser. Saint Paul directs us to “Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5b-8 ESV) Jesus humbled Himself to lose it all for you.

On the show, the one who ends up losing the most weight (unless unfairly voted off) becomes the “Biggest Loser.” Yet in Jesus’ case, He made a major adjustment to this concept.

First, Christ released you from the weight of your sin. As He was baptized in the Jordan, He soaked up the oppressive load of your trespasses. You became “lighter,” as His “weight” increased. It would seem that He was actually being defeated in this contest!

Then Jesus, under the burden of the whole world’s sin, suffered and died. But wait! At the moment of His death, the weight was removed. The pounds of punishment – the tons of trespasses – all gone for good. Jesus indeed became the Biggest Loser!

But in a bizarre twist, Jesus decided not to remain simply the “Biggest Loser,” but to be the Biggest Loser FOR YOU! The Winner, the Champion hands out His delivery through His Holy Gifts, one of which (irony of ironies) is through eating!

Yes, the creators of the show Biggest Loser might be perplexed, but the Lord shares His victory and new life with you as He feeds you! And kneeling at the Lord’s Table, longing for the Holy Food and Drink He gives there is one food addiction that is to be praised and encouraged!

Jesus became the Biggest Loser that you too might be Big Losers – losing the control that sin, death, and the devil have in your lives. You lose the burden of constantly being accused by the devil. You lose the hopelessness and despair that come from our failures in this world. You lose the weight of Old Adam, as Christ, the Biggest Loser, feeds you His victorious Body and Blood! Congratulations! Jesus has made you a bunch of Losers!

Rev. Rich Heinz is Pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church in Lanesville, IN. Pastor Heinz also serves as editor of the Higher Things Website.

Created: October 9th, 2008