Down and Out, but Never Alone
Reminder: Watch this video the week of July 5th - July 11th
Session 2 – Introduction:
In the first Rocky movie, the climax comes near the end of the film when an unknown Italian southpaw gets a chance to box the reigning heavyweight champion. Apollo Creed, the flamboyant titleholder, sees the fight as an exhibition more than a serious boxing match. He plans to dance around the ring, give his opponent a chance to have his moment in the spotlight, entertain the crowds, and then knock out Rocky. The problem is, no one told Rocky Balboa, the “Italian Stallion,” that it was a show. He came to fight.
In the first round, Rocky catches Apollo Creed with the full force of a left uppercut and Apollo hits the mat like a sack of wheat. It is the first time he has ever been knocked down in a fight. When he gets to his feet he begins to beat on Rocky mercilessly, but the challenger simply won’t stay down. He won’t quit.
When the bell sounds for the second round, these two men go to war. They exchange punches over the next twelve rounds and Rocky is on the receiving end of most of them.
By the fourteenth round, Rocky is stumbling around the ring like a drunken man. Then Creed floors him with a fierce right upper-cut that sends him sprawling to the mat. The referee begins the ten-count as Rocky tries to stand. His face is swollen and bloody, his body is beaten, and his energy reserves have been on empty for at least three rounds. His trainer, Mickey, screams, “Down! Down! Stay down!” He pleads with Rocky to just give in to the inevitable and stay on the mat.
But as the referee gets to “nine,” Rocky staggers to his feet. The crowd chants his name over and over again. Apollo, who has thrown his hands in the air as a declaration of victory, looks over at Rocky in disbelief. The fight continues. Rocky pounds the champ with a shattering punch that cracks his ribs just as the bell sounds to end the fourteenth round.
In Rocky’s corner, the fatigued and relentless boxer’s eye is so puffy that he can’t see. He orders Mickey, “Cut me.” In Apollo’s corner, his trainer tells the champ, “You’re bleeding inside; I’m gonna stop the fight.” The injured champ responds with fierce determination, “You ain’t stopping nothing! You ain’t stopping nothing!” Just before the bell sounds to bring the two boxers back to the center of the ring, Rocky says to his trainer, “You stop this fight, I’ll kill you.” By the end of the fifteenth and final round, both fighters are standing — but barely!
This movie won three Oscars, including best picture of 1976. It was made on a budget of 1.1 million dollars and was filmed in twenty-eight days. But it eventually made over 225 million dollars and inspired six more Rocky films.
There is something compelling about a person with an unquenchable spirit. We are drawn to those who won’t give up, won’t give in, and won’t stay down on the mat. In our hearts, all of us wish we had the strength and courage to get back up on our feet when life has knocked us down . . . again.
Think About it:
Give an example of a movie or book character with an unquenchable spirit and shocking resiliency when faced with a powerful adversity. Why are people drawn to a character like this?
KEY SCRIPTURES OF THE WEEK
Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”
His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.
Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”
When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.
So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the ornate robe he was wearing—and they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.
As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.
Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed.
So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
1 Peter 1:18–20
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.
2 Corinthians 5:1
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.