This is Superbowl week and almost 90 million people were glued to their televisions watching the battle on the gridiron between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants, as they played Superbowl 42.
While there is no mention of football in the Bible, there were many sporting events in the coliseum at Rome as well as in Athens.
Since Jesus was a contemporary of his times, if he were here today in the flesh, he might even talk to us about football.
There are several comparisons between the Christian life and football.
There are only two teams in the game. The Superbowl rivals this year are fierce opponents, going head-to-head to do whatever it takes to win. In life there are only two teams in the spiritual battle on the gridiron of life - the teams of God vs. Satan; good vs. bad; right vs. wrong. But this battle is one of eternal consequences. We are all participants. None of us can remain neutral. We all have to choose whose side we are on.
The stands are full of fans cheering us on. Some 73,000 fans will be in the stadium at the University of Phoenix, with millions of others watching the game on television. All will be cheering for their teams. The word "fans" is short for "fanatic." Heaven's grandstands are full of those, no longer in the game of life, but cheering us on in our spiritual battle.
We are part of a great team. The Superbowl will not be won by any one person, but through a team effort. Everyone on the team is vital to the success of the entire team. Every player is important, and each person contributes by filling their position.
We must give 100 percent if we are to win. The players of the Superbowl will give everything within them to win the game. They have disciplined themselves and have practiced and worked hard, beating their rivals this season, to make it to the Superbowl. We too, must give 100 percent if we are going to win in the game of life.
We have a play book. Football teams have a play book. Each player memorizes the plays and knows their specific role in executing the play. As Christians, we too, have a play book - the Bible. We need to be familiar with all the plays so we can go out onto the field and face our opponent with confidence and with the strategy to overcome him. We too, must play by the rules and stay in the prescribed boundaries.
We have a coach. The Superbowl coaches will be calling the plays and giving their best leadership to take their team to victory. We too have a coach, Jesus Christ. We are to listen to his calls and execute his plays and keep our eyes focused on him and his leadership.
We must have a strong defense and effective offense. Both are necessary to win the game. We must hold back the forces of the opponents and drive them back into their own territory.
We must expect opposition. There will be blocking, tackling, fumbling, intercepting, running, and throwing. The Superbowl, as well as life, is a fight. Expect opposition and be well-prepared to battle your way through to the goal line.
We must run patiently toward the goal line. The object is to make it to the goal line and make the touchdown and score the extra point. We cannot be distracted with what is behind us, but eagerly look ahead to what is before us.
We have been guaranteed the victory. While no one knows who will win the Superbowl until the final buzzer, as Christians, we have already been guaranteed the victory.
You can be a winner in God's Superbowl. Keep running the race, battling the opponents, following the play book, and pressing towards the goal. Most of all, keep your eyes on Jesus and allow him to coach you to victory in the game of life.
The Rev. Wayne Rutherford LifePointe Church of the Nazarene