It is football week at RisenReviews, so instead of reviewing a movie or book, we are reviewing an American football game.
Last night, the Green Bay Packers defeated the Chicago Bears 24-23 in Sunday Night Football, lead on a 20-point comeback by a hobbled Aaron Rodgers, widely recognized as the most talented quarterback in the league. Rodgers was injured in the first half and left the game, but he returned in the second half.
The end of the game gave way to inevitable speculations about how Rodgers is the greatest quarterback of all time, or how he ranks compared to others. As a lifelong Packers fan, I sometimes get annoyed by sports commentators who act like Rodgers beat the other team all by himself. It is true that the comeback wouldn’t have been possible without him, but it also wouldn’t have been possible without the rest of the team. My reason for bringing up this game is to find the gospel in it, so let’s look at the distinct contrast between the work of Christ and the work of Aaron Rodgers.
First, the similarities. Rodgers led a comeback against the Chicago Bears, while Jesus led a comeback against sin, death, and evil. Rodgers was struck down, but returned from the locker room to lead his team to victory. Jesus was killed, but he rose from his grave, beating sin and death forever.
But Jesus had no help. The comeback against sin and death was a comeback he accomplished completely by himself. We are eager to forget this sometimes, thinking that we can add to the comeback, or help it along. We can be nice to people, fight for social justice, or avoid pride and we can make sure Jesus’ work is a little easier.
But nothing that we do, no matter what, will ever add to what Christ has already done and will do. He rose from the dead, and when he returns he will raise his people from the dead as well, making them like himself: sinless and immortal. We don’t know when that will happen, and we can’t help it along. We are waiting on our Savior. We have nothing to contribute to our own salvation, morally or physically.
This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t do good things. On the contrary, we need to live in light of the fact that Christ has accomplished everything. The more we understand this truth, the more useful we will be. But if we think that there is more for us to do, then we will get into trouble.
If you enjoy football, let me know what college or pro teams you root for in the comment section! And come back to the blog Wednesday for a resurrection theology of football.
Please note: I am not equating sin and death with the Chicago Bears.