Game Day #2…really #3 if you count the scrimmage two weeks ago....or #4 if you count Flowery Branch in May. Either way, we are back at home tonight and our boys are fired up and ready to play!
“You would have no authority over me unless it had been given you from above.” – John 19:11
These are the words of Jesus to Pontius Pilate right before Pilate gives him up to be crucified. The religious people of Israel hated Jesus and had worked hard to destroy Jesus. They hated Jesus because he came to expose their sin. Even though he was going to die for their sins and pay the penalty for their sins, they hated him because he exposed their sin. They wanted him dead. The only thing that stood in their way was the approval of the Judaen Governor. The Governor was Pilate. He stood as the decision maker for the Judea which was under the rule of Rome.
As Jesus stood before Pilate, Pilate was asking him questions but Jesus was not answering. Jesus understood his fate and he knew Pilate was going to serve him due to the political expediency of Jesus’ death. Of course, it was much bigger than the jealousy of the religious elite (the Pharisees) who wanted Jesus' death. Jesus had come to earth to die for our sins. The purpose of God was to deliver Jesus over to death that he would die for our sins.
All of it: The Pharisees wanting Jesus dead and Pilate delivering Jesus up to death, was the will of God. It was the will of the people to have Jesus crucified. Pilate was subject not to doing what was right and delivering a guiltless man; but instead, Pilate was held hostage by his desire to give the people what they desired. By giving people what they wanted he would be loved. God was masterfully using the sin of man to deliver man from their sin. The sin of man put Jesus on the cross. Jesus on the cross has given man forgiveness of sins and power over sin. In essence, Jesus is using sin to defeat sin.
Although Pilate thought he had complete power to either free Jesus or hand Jesus over to death, Jesus knew Pilate could only do what he was allowed to do. Although extremely powerful, Jesus knew that Pilate was a slave to the desires of man. Pilate was not going to do what was right but, instead, he was going to give the people what they wanted to create peace: Jesus’ death on a cross. Pilate thought he was all powerful. But Jesus knew that his power was subject to the will of God. It was God’s will to have Jesus handed over to death on the cross. God used man’s sinful actions to bring about his will. Pilate was just a tool to produce the desired result. Jesus had to die that you and I might live. Pilate had no power. He was a slave to sin. This is how amazing God is: He uses man’s desire for sin to bring about his desired result of salvation to mankind. God was using the worldly power of Pilate to accomplish his purposes.
It is our sin nature to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. We think people are dumb only because we think we are smart. We think other people are ugly only because we think we are pretty. We think others aren’t good only because we think we are good. We are self- righteous, judgemental, and a host of other prideful things. We are very arrogant creatures if you really think about it. In fact…I’m way more like the Pharisees and Pilate than I am Jesus a lot of the time.
Just watch the kids in football. If they break up a pass they have to do something silly with their hands or their mouth to let everyone know they did something. If someone scores a touchdown or makes an amazing play it is only in their nature to add to it by running their mouth or some type of gesture signifying they made a great play. It is just how prideful we actually are. The good play in itself is not enough…we have to add to it. (We are working to not do this stuff!)
We are desperate, slaves really, to the attention and approval of the world. Our pride and the desire to be approved, glorified, drives our actions. We are all guilty. This is who we are but it is not a good thing. Pride will destroy you and your pride will destroy whatever in which you are a part.
Due to our sin nature, we think we are better than we are. We think we are more important than we are. We can’t get out of our own way to actually serve and make an organization better. Our complaining…that is actually our pride screaming. We usually complain and gripe and grow bitter because, although we are the center of our worlds, the world does not put us at the center.
Think about a football team. A football team is a whole bunch of guys doing different jobs in order to win. There are 11 guys on the field and each player has a specific job to do. If each player will execute his job with excellence, the team will win. If each coach will perform his duty with excellence all throughout the week, they will be able to add value to the players and put them in the best possible position to win. All of this requires each person to put aside his selfish desires and do the job that is best for the team to produce the desired result of winning.
It sounds so easy but it isn’t. Pride is constantly attacking our souls. I know it attacks mine. I can quickly begin to think about myself more highly than I should. I can quickly get aggravated with people when in reality I am the dumb one. Jesus’ words this week awaken my heart to the truth: any good that comes to me or if I am good at anything…or if I have success at anything…it is of God and to be used for the glory of God.
You see Pilate thought he had the power to save Jesus. He thought this power was his own doing. He probably thought that he had worked so hard in life and he was so special and that is why he became Governor of Judea. Pilate had actually been put in that position in that time to deliver Jesus over to death. He as a slave to the will of God yet, in his arrogance, thought he had complete power. He told the almighty God of the universe that he had the power to save him and his life. His pride was blinding him to reality: He was standing before the One who actually had the power to save his life.
You see, our pride distorts the truth. Pride causes us to not see the truth. Our pride can cause us to think too highly of ourselves or sink into deep depression because we are thinking too much of ourselves. We all struggle with pride. We are all guilty. Just like the Pharisees and Pilate, we will miss Jesus because we are infatuated with ourselves. We are all Pilate…we are not the Jesus in the story.
So…with Hebron Football…we preach HUMiL1TY. This does not mean our boys are perfect models of humility. We don’t preach HUMiL1TY because we are humble, but because we know we are not. The little i and big 1 is as much for me than anyone else. I am guilty of pride daily. However, I do realize the damaging effects of leaving our sin unchecked.
Little i, big 1. The beginning of great organization is a bunch of people putting themselves and their desires aside for the greater good of the organization. Thank goodness Jesus stood there before Pilate with his mouth shut. Jesus chose not to do what was in his personal best interests. Jesus humbled himself before Pilate…I am sure it was hard to be God perfect in his emotional and mental power, and subject yourself to a slimy weasel of a man like Pilate who was a slave to the approval of man. But Jesus did…not for his own interests but for what was best for you and me: SALVATION through his death, burial, and resurrection.
So there you go…HUMiL1TY must be one of the pillars of Hebron Football. It is not easy. We are all like Pilate in that we think way more highly of ourselves than we ought. But in making I an i, we can become 1. But a team full of I’s will never become 1. In fact 11 I’s on the field became #11. But put 11 i’s on the field and they become #1. I hope you understand…it makes perfect sense.
GAME DAY!!!!!! We are fired up and ready to play!!!!
“The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.” – Proverbs 21:31
Wholly for Christ,
– Coach Gess