Did you hear about the Brandon High School quarterback who switched sides at halftime last week?
He’d led his team to 3 touchdowns in the first half, while the other team’s quarterback left the game injured. The opponents had no backup quarterback and struggled through offensive plays (really struggled, as you can see in the video linked above) as they finished the half scoreless.
Brandon’s coach asked his starting quarterback to play for the other team. In a show of great sportsmanship, both teams played hard in the second half and the game ended 46-14.
Quarterback Mason Mathieu said of the other team, “They’re a great group of guys, I mean I loved it. It was great.”
Being in God’s family is great too, and from what I’ve read in the Bible you’re either in or you’re out. Sometimes it’s hard to tell who falls into which category, though.
Jesus’ friends thought they had it pegged: if you’re not one of those who are close to Jesus, travelling with him, sitting under his teaching daily, then you’re not one of his disciples – you don’t belong to him. Jesus said otherwise.
“Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”
“Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us.” (Mark 9:38-40.)
Later, people tried to draw the line in different places, telling non-Jews that they could not follow Jesus unless they first became Jewish. Paul had strong words for those who insisted that Christians must also follow Jewish laws and customs (Galatians 5:12), and he set people straight: the old way of dividing people into categories does not apply in God’s kingdom.
Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.(Colossians 3:11.)
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28.)
So to analogize from the football story above, the players on the field may have worn different uniforms and come from different schools, but the Brandon High School coach saw them differently. He looked on the field and saw football players – not one team from one school and the other team from another school – just players who wanted to play football. What they wore and where they were from and how well they played didn’t matter.
That’s how it is for us too:
- Where we’re from doesn’t disqualify us in our relationship with Jesus or one another in God’s family.
- What we look like doesn’t disqualify us in our relationship with Jesus or one another in God’s family.
- How well we perform doesn’t disqualify us in our relationship with Jesus or one another in God’s family.
Jesus just sees us as people who belong to God. That’s what he told our heavenly Father, and that’s what the Bible tells us.
“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:22-23.)
Who are we then, in Jesus? We are people that can be with everyone else who belongs to Jesus, no matter where we’re from, no matter what our differences might be.
We are all on the same team after all, because we are one in Jesus just as Jesus and the Father are one.