There is no question that this past Sunday's Super Bowl game between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons was one of the greatest football games ever played, some are saying THE greatest. But the reason the game was so amazing and memorable was because of what the superstar of the game, Patriot quarterback Tom Brady, did in rallying his team back to a comeback victory from a 25 point deficit in the 3rd quarter to win in overtime. Nothing like it had ever happened in Super Bowl history. People will be talking about this game for a long time. It was the kind of game that no one could forget. Some sports writers are calling it a, "Game for the ages." It was a game that seemed for a moment to move from a sporting event to mythology and legend.
Whenever you see something amazing out there, you can always be sure there is something in it about the Lord. We are hardwired to react to certain things in certain ways because they reflect important things about the Lord. Whether we understand it or not, we are hardwired to rejoice when we see our heroes make comebacks. For many people, Tom Brady is some sort of sports hero. Before Sunday's game, many football fans and players said he was the greatest quarterback in NFL history. After what happened in the game, few have any doubts left. Tom Brady's legacy and place in history has been established as part of his sports legend. For the rest of his life, Tom Brady will walk around and people will say, "There goes Tom Brady, the greatest quarterback that ever lived."
One of the great tragedies we are having in our culture today is that we don't really have any heroes around us. Perhaps that is why the press and our culture have been so quick to inflate people like Tom Brady when they come along. We are wired to seek and find heroes because we need them. We need people to look up to and feel good about. We need role models that we can follow, love, admire and want to be like. We want a hero that inspires us with their life and accomplishments. We want a hero that will give us a feeling that life can be exciting, great and wonderful. We want a comeback hero that can make us believe that all things are possible, no matter the obstacle, problem or score. We want a hero that will show us how to face life's challenges and find victory. For a brief moment this past Sunday, Tom Brady was that hero for millions of people. For a moment on Sunday night, people forgot the sins and struggles they face and were drawn into a narrative of victory, hope and belief against all odds that seem to overwhelm most of us in our daily lives.
The Super Bowl game on Sunday was a living sermon that most missed sitting in Church earlier that day. Tom Brady was pointing us beyond himself, to our Risen Lord. After all, it was our Lord that staged the greatest comeback in history. We call it Easter. Our Lord had a big following and in many ways was very famous before the Cross. And yet, what changed everything was what happened in the BIG GAME...when His reputation and greatness were being tested the most. Our Lord broke out of that Tomb and defeated every opponent to the shock and surprise of everyone, including His own team. The Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is what established our Lord as THE Hero of all Ages. His life and legacy now and forever will never be forgotten or changed. He has become the Star of this thing called life and His legacy will last forever.
Now a few might resist this analogy between our Lord and a football game/player. And yet, for the millions of sports fans who look for teams and heroes to follow....and worship, looking at our Lord is a great way to understand the real meaning of their emotions and passions. Those emotions and passions did not come about from millions of years of evolution. They were given by a loving and gracious Lord as a way to enjoy Him in a wonderful way. Sadly, for so many sports enthusiasts, the passion for a player or any sport never seems to finds its way to church, Bible study or a prayer meeting. As a result, our churches are often missing the one thing that brings anything to life.....passion. Passion was the one thing that was NOT missing this past Sunday at Super Bowl LI. If that same passion had been present in most worship services earlier in the day, we would be in the midst of a revival right now.
It is VERY common today to hear people saying that they wonder if God is relevant anymore, or if God is real at all. For many today, their view of the Lord of Glory is lost in a sea of media distorted images that portray the Lord as a boring, stuffy old grandpa that won't let you have much fun. This ungodly view of the Lord has led so many into an endless expression of "ho-hum religion" that seems to be affecting few. Many of our youth and adults are turned off by the Church world and are seeking to express their hardwired need to worship something/someone by finding heroes in rock concerts, Hollywood stars or sports figures like Tom Brady.
Yes, this past Super Bowl was exciting to watch and discuss. It was energizing to hear people come alive about a game that lasted only 60 minutes. But the greatest joy of this past Sunday was to really know that such events had an ultimate object and focus beyond them. The great hope of life is that everyone can find the Lord Jesus Christ as the True Hero we are all seeking to follow and be like. Our Lord came back from the Cross, when no one thought He would, and won the game of life. Sins were forgiven, Hell was defeated and the Devil was destroyed. Our Lord is calling us to follow Him and find a life full of passion and excitement with Him. Our Lord and His victory over the grave is the everlasting witness to why we are here and the future of our lives together.
This past Super Bowl and its superstar, Tom Brady, made this writer think about Jesus. How about you? After all, life is much, much, much more than a game. Life is always about Him. Jesus is life.....the rest is just football.