by Michael Hughes
Coming here from Burlingame, Kansas 24 years ago, I found myself surrounded by people who celebrated a football team I knew very little about. I was a Kansas City Chiefs fan. But the more I heard about Steve Largent, Jim Zorn, Dan Doornink and others, the more I came to value this team called the Seattle Seahawks.
I have followed their trail through frustration after disappointment after early high hopes. The current commercial for the NFL expresses some of that frustration, "The first thing we have to do is fire Holmgren." But this year something really new has come. For the first time the team actually is good. Really good.
Following the Seahawks has been exciting this season. During the last few games I have been on the phone with my sons, Tim and Jon, at timeouts, to share the excitement of the games with them. Tim is in Pasadena (where folks haven't even heard of the Seahawks!). Jon is in Bellingham.
Last Sunday we were all excited as the game was about to get underway. Tim told me that he had already gotten a call from his friends who had gotten tickets to the game and were sitting down at the 50-yard line about six rows up - before they had to move to their real seats somewhere farther up in the stands. They put their cell phone on "speaker phone" and let him hear the sounds of the crowd already screaming their support for the Seahawks. They said that the stands were really rocking! Towels were spinning overhead. Over 67,000 people were yelling and high-fiving each other.
On Feb. 5th, there will be even more excitement as the Seahawks play in the Superbowl.
All that energy and excitement over a football game! Why? Because it is a time of joy. Smiles and laughter abound.
I wonder if it was something like that when Jesus went around teaching the crowds. Oh, not the raucus noise. People wanted to hear Jesus teach. But I can imagine the excitement as they told one another that the Master was coming.
"Did you hear that he healed a blind man?"
"Yes, and I saw him command a man born with crippled legs to get up and walk, and he did!
And another man who was crazy and "wild as a March Hare" is in his right mind again!"
The people could hardly tear themselves away from the exciting things Jesus was doing. But they did, because they wanted their friends and relatives to come and see what was happening.
Philip brought Andrew: The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus." John 1:41-42 (NIV).
When Jesus spoke with the woman at the well in Samaria, she could hardly contain herself: "Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, "Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" They came out of the town and made their way toward him." John 4:28-30 (NIV).
When we have Good News, we like to share it. It is fun to share the joy of the Seahawks season. It is even more fun to share the joy of knowing Jesus Christ. And the neat thing about that is that the joy of knowing Jesus doesn't take 24 years to discover and it doesn't last just for a season or two, but forever.
If you haven't discovered it yet, visit a church or talk with someone who is excited about Jesus.
Michael Hughes is pastor of the First Baptist Church in Sunnyside.