What greater joy could we have than to see our sons and daughters walking with Jesus, not just in the early years but even after they grow up and leave home?
From Matthew 4:19-22: “And He said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. As He went from there, He saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and He called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.”
Goodness and purity ought never to attract attention to themselves, they ought simply to be magnets to draw to Jesus Christ.
From John 3:28:30: [John the Baptist is speaking] “You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of Him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears Him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. For this reason my joy has been fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Autumn fills with sounds of cheering fans and the excitement of Friday night high school football games. We pick up the action with play-by-play announcer “Cato the Cat” Johnson as he calls the final seconds of the game between the undefeated Valley High Bulldogs and the lowly Vernon High Bengals.
Welcome back football fans as the undefeated Valley High Bulldogs are poised to garner their 10th division championship in a row. The winless Bengals of Vernon High have put up an incredible fight against overwhelming odds tonight, but their time in the limelight is about to be extinguished by the mighty Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs are poised to add to their lead with the score at 7-2. The stingy Bengals have only yielded one score, and its defense has scored their only points with a safety back in the first quarter.
From the Bengals’ five-yard line, the Bulldogs are facing a second down and goal. They line up in their favorite power run formation. The ball is snapped. But wait . . . fumble!
The Bengals have recovered! Oh my, what a turn of events. However, the Bulldogs still hold the lead, and the game clock only shows enough time for one more play.
The Bengals face nearly the entire length of the football field—95 yards to be exact. With only one more play, it appears their woeful season will end on another sour note. At least the marching band has performed quite well this season.
The Bengals line up in a spread formation. The Bulldogs’ defense sets up in a prevent mode. They only need to stop the Bengals here, and their string of championship crowns will continue.
The ball is snapped. Instead of passing, the Bengals hand the ball off to their speedy halfback Kurt Warner. With a power sweep to the right, the Bengals are pushing the ball up the sideline. There is a phalanx of blockers in front of Warner.
Only two players stand between the Bengals and a touchdown. One blocker takes out a defender, and Warner fakes left and hustles right, leaving the last tackler humbled on the ground.
Nelson is on his way . . . to the 30, the 20, the 10 . . . touchdown!
The Bengals score, and the game is over. Vernon High 8, Valley High 7.
Oh my football fans! We have seen an incredible finish for the ages.
Life isn’t always as basic as a seemingly simple high school football game. Just as Vernon High comes into the game as a hapless underdog, Jesus Christ is perceived to be a loser and an underdog when he is taken to Calvary and a cruel Cross. Football fans underestimate the resolve of the Bengals, just as people underestimate Christ’s real purpose.
The Vernon High team experiences an unbelievable moment, but it pales in comparison to the stunning moment when Jesus’ followers find the empty tomb.
In order to make deposits in heaven’s bank, following Christ must be more important than any worldly ambition or priority.
From Luke 12:19-21: “And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”
There is one Advocate we all need–one who represents sinners like us in the highest of all places–the presence of God: “Jesus Christ, the righteous.” What a great promise!
From 1 John 2:1-2: “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”