Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2016
Texts: Matthew 1:20–23; John 9:39; Matthew 3:7–12; 4:1–10; Deuteronomy 34:1–4; Revelation 21:10
Few Americans are unaware that on Sunday, February 7, 2016, the final NFL football game of the 2015 season will take place in Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. The outcome will determine the championship team.
Regardless of which side you are rooting for, there are some amazing statistics between these two rival teams. The largest age difference between starting quarterbacks in Super Bowl history comes with Peyton Manning (39) and Cam Newton (26). Manning is also the only quarterback to bring multiple teams to the Super Bowl multiple times.
Another fascinating statistic is that the NFL’s No. 1 scoring offense (Panthers) will play the league’s No. 1 defense (Broncos). And, since the Broncos are designated the home team, they have decided to wear white jerseys. Maybe it’s out of superstition. They are 0-4 when wearing orange jerseys in a Super Bowl. Furthermore, teams wearing white jerseys have won 10 of the past 11 Super Bowls. Will it make them the victors?1
There’s a bigger game taking place right now in our universe between two rivals. Much of the plays seem hidden from our eyes, but this week, in our Sabbath school lesson, a window is opened to view a direct confrontation between Christ and Satan in the wilderness.
After Jesus was baptized, the Spirit led Him into the wilderness where He was tempted by the devil. After forty days of fasting, the Savior was exhausted. It was in this moment that the master deceiver put on a white uniform and pretended to be on the same team. But Jesus quickly discerned the opponent by the questions he asked.
The parallels between Christ’s experience in the wilderness and that of Israel after leaving Egypt are incredibly similar. It is as if the same ground that God’s people walked over (and failed), Jesus went back over and succeeded. You might think of it as going back to the final playoffs again and getting it right. Where we lost, Jesus won.
The game is not over. You stand on the playing field of this earth. You must choose on which side you will play. You cannot sit in the bleachers. Both coaches assure their teams of ultimate victory. Who will you follow?
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