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Comrades in Arms
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Comrades in Arms

Luke 5:6-8, 11; Mark 3:14; Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41; 9:33-37; Matthew 20:20-28.

February 20, 2016

Right up until kickoff on February 7, he was called “the worst quarterback ever to start a Super Bowl.” All through the game his supporters held their breath, wondering if he would shake the notion that he tended to choke in big games. When the final gun sounded three and a half hours later marking the end of Super Bowl 50, fans across the world finally exhaled in relief. Peyton Manning won a second Super Bowl ring and cemented his legacy as one of the greatest in the game.

It wasn’t always like that. Manning’s football prowess through the years is legendary. Granted, he did nothing in this game to dispel the notion of the worst quarterback to start a Super Bowl. Age has diminished his physical skills, so he relied on experience and intellect to manage the game. His main job was not to win the game; the team just needed him to not lose it. Teammates such as Malik Jackson, T. J. Ward, and MVP Von Miller locked up the game for Manning. Even though all eyes were on Payton’s performance, the Denver Broncos’ win came about as the result of a complete team effort. In fact, their leader could do nothing without his team. Payton gave this kudos to them: “I’m just glad that I am on the same team as our defense and I don’t have to play against them.” [1]

In our lesson this week, we see how Jesus put together His team. Why did He pick this group? Jesus could certainly evangelize the world without their help; the rocks can cry out God’s message if necessary. In the exact opposite of Manning’s situation, in God’s church the team can do nothing without their leader.

Jesus picked Peter, ironically, for his humility. When he realized that Jesus embodied both humanity and divinity he said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” The twelve were a mixture of rough fishermen, traitorous publicans, and arrogant zealots—not the ideal combination for a cohesive team. They were a bickering, proud, ambitious, distrustful group of malcontents. When Jesus sent them out, however, they received authority from Jesus and power from the Holy Spirit and in just a few short years they overturned the world.

So who are we today? Are we any better than this group of misfits? Do we still receive power and authority from God to fulfill our mission? We in God’s church should always say, “I’m just glad I am on the same team as our Leader and I don’t have to play against Him.”

~ cb

[1] nfl.com