Perhaps you’ve seen the article about a Greek papyrus from the third century CE that contains the first written evidence of someone agreeing to throw a game in return for a bribe.

In this case the object was actually to be thrown, three times, in a wrestling match. Two teenage boys were set to compete in the finals of the 138th “Great Antinoeia,” an important series of regional games held in the Egyptian city of Antinopolis, in conjunction with a religious festival.

In such matches, the victor did not win by pinning his opponent, but by throwing him to the ground three times, using a variety of moves. According to a contract reached by the adults around them, one Demetrius agreed to fall three times and yield to Nicantinous, whose father promised to pay a bribe of 3,800 drachma, about the price of a donkey.

And you thought professional rasslin’ was fixed.

Reading the article on Good Friday, I can’t help but recall that there were those who thought Jesus was defeated at “the place of the skull,” but the match was fixed. Jesus knew that his fall was temporary, that he would rise again, and that the ultimate victory — won in our behalf — would be his.

Thanks be to God.

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