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April 12 , 2015

Jesus Intercedes for Us

1 John 3:11-24

In 1962, Dick and Judy Hoyt had a son named Rick, who was diagnosed as “a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy.” He cannot walk or speak, and he uses a computer to communicate. In 1977, Rick told his father “he wanted to participate in a 5-mile benefit run.” Dick, who was not experienced in long-distance running, pushed his son in his wheelchair, finishing the race next to last.1


Thus began Team Hoyt. Together they have completed over 1,000 races, including six Ironman triathlons. Dick pulls Rick in a “boat for the swimming stage,” rides “a special two-seater bicycle” for the cycling stage, and pushes Rick in a “custom made running chair” for the marathon stage.2 For each event, Dick takes on the weight of his son plus extra equipment, adding to the difficulty of an already strenuous task. Every other athlete does all he or she can to eliminate each unnecessary ounce.


Daily care of a handicapped child goes beyond what every able-child’s parent endures. In addition, Dick took on a sport at the request of his son, training for some of the most difficult challenges humans place upon themselves. He works harder than even the best-trained athletes in the sport because of the added weight he carries with him.


The author of the lesson in our teacher’s book this week writes that laying down one’s life for one’s friends includes being “willing to live for one another.”3 Dick gives Rick the gift of living in a way his body is simply not capable of doing. Following their first race, Rick said, “Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicapped.”4 Team Hoyt demonstrates the sacrificial nature of loving someone as Christ loves us so that others can live life abundantly.

  1. In training for an extreme sport, what regimens are involved to reach your body’s full potential? How would carrying someone else’s weight add to that regimen?
  2. What demands does helping a handicapped person add to someone’s life? How is a caregiver’s life changed, positively and negatively, by the person in his or her care?
  3. How is Team Hoyt an example of being willing to live for one another? How does their story add to or change your perspective on laying down our lives for one another?


For images of Dick and Rick Hoyt, go to




1From “About Team Hoyt” at

2From “About Team Hoyt.”

3From Adult Bible Studies Teacher, Spring 2015, by John Gooch (Cokesbury, 2014); page 67.

4From “About Team Hoyt.”


Reverend Katie Shockley is a licensed local pastor and serves as associate pastor at First United Methodist Church of Sachse, Texas.

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