I am not a diehard football fan. There are two kinds of football games I care about; Duck football and any game my nephew is playing in. This past Duck football season was a tough one, after the kind of seasons we had gotten used to in previous years with our Heisman quarterback. It’s not that we didn’t have a decent quarterback, but an injury got things off to a bad start and in the end an injury precipitated the loss of our final game. The last game, the Alamo bowl, was painful to watch. That game got me thinking.
For those of you who didn’t watch or hear about it, we had a great first half and it appeared to be an easy win with 31 to nothing at the end of the first half. Then our quarterback and center got injured and it was all down hill from there and ended in a devastating loss. I wondered how the loss of a quarterback could have that much impact on a game. How many other guys are on that team? Fifty? More? Football players are always getting injured, isn’t that why they have so many other players to step in when they are needed? Can one or two guys really influence a whole team and change the outcome of a game or an entire season? Apparently so.
I started thinking about Jesus and His “hands-on” God approach. He is in the game with us all the time. He is not content to “coach” us from the sidelines. He became man to show us that He is in the game. He took the hits, the jeers and the injuries, injuries unto death. He had pain, insults and disappointments. He also shared in joys, friendships, hard work and victories. He attended weddings, births and family gatherings. Through it all, He became someone whose judgment, instinct and insight, His disciples, family and friends came to rely on and trust. They looked to Him for leadership, wisdom, compassion and comfort. He gave them confidence to push beyond what they had been, to be more. And then He died.
For those three days, His team lost their confidence. They were discouraged, even frightened. His closest companions withdrew and hid. This one guy was out of play and no one stepped up to try and fill His shoes. How many had known Him and come to believe in Him? Hundreds? Thousands? No one could take His place. Then on the third day He rose again!
He conquered death, but He also showed us He is still in the game, calling the plays, right here with us. He is leading us to the ultimate victory. There does seem to be something about a smart and talented quarterback that can inspire his team to confidence and victory. He is one guy that has a lot of impact on his team and the outcome of the game.
This last weekend, Julie and Calvin Tadema reminded us of John 17:20-26. Not only is Jesus in the game with us, He wants us to be one with Him. In verse 21, He says, “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” He continues in verses 22 and 23 “that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one,” We were never intended to do this life alone. We are literally ‘inspired’ by the Holy Spirit of God living in us. In the last chapter of Matthew, Jesus tells His disciples that He will be with them always.
So be confident, be of good cheer! Jesus is in the game with us, and is leading us to the greatest of all victories!
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”