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The Prize


A billionaire oil tycoon from Texas decided to find a husband for his 
only daughter, a rather homely 18-year-old. He initiated his search by 
inviting local bachelors to a party in his backyard. A large, elegantly 
designed swimming pool dominated the yard. As the men edged by it to get 
their refreshments, they saw it was filled with man-eating sharks, 
piranhas, alligators, and other animals that wouldn't think twice 
about eating you alive. 

Clustering beside the pool, the bachelors puzzled over the strange sight. 
Just then the tycoon appeared on the patio and gave an emotional speech, 
telling how much he loved his daughter and expressing how much he wanted 
her to marry someone deserving of her. He then laid out The Deal. "Anyone 
who will jump in the swimming pool and swim to the other side will have 
their choice of a check for one million dollars with no questions asked 
or the title deed to my most profitable oil field or the hand of my daughter 
in marriage and your place in my will, which will result in your 
inheriting my entire fortune."

The bachelors were speechless. Their questioning looks seemed to say that 
none of them would be crazy enough to risk his life--even for all that 
money. The long silence was finally broken by a splash. Everyone turned 
to see one of the men swimming to the far side of the pool as fast as any 
Olympic swimmer. Leaping out of the water, he shook himself and stalked 
back to the tycoon. With a hug and a handshake, the tycoon congratulated 
the young man on a fine swim. "Son, would you like a million dollar check?" 
he asked. "No sir, I wouldn't," responded the young man politely, and 
slightly out of breath. "Fine," said the tycoon. "Then would you like my most 
profitable oil field?" "No sir," he replied, getting a hold on himself. With 
a tear in his eye the tycoon asked, "Then, my boy, would you like my only 
daughter's hand in marriage?" To the surprise of the gawking bachelors, the 
young man replied, "No sir." Puzzled and a little hurt, the tycoon asked, 
"Well then, son, what do you want?" "I only want one thing," answered the 
young man with assurance. "I want the name of the guy who pushed me in the pool."

Nobody would willingly jump into a shark-infested pool--even for a million 
dollars. And nobody would willingly let themselves be nailed to a Roman 
cross-even if he thought he might get some fame or recognition out of it. 

Jesus let himself be nailed to that cross, not because there was something 
in it for Him personally, but because there was something in it for you and 
me. Jesus did more than risk His life for us; Jesus gave His life for us. 
Nobody pushed Him into it; He chose to die because He loves us.


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