Football, Respect, and Jesus
Recently NFL Legend, Jim Brown declared that he would always stand for the National Anthem. He said that kneeling is disrespectful to the flag and that he always wanted to respect the flag: “I am not going to denigrate my flag…” he went on to say to a reporter while visiting the Football Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio.
With football season nearly here, this will be a topic of discussion from all the radio, tv, and media “talking heads” to regular news, the people at your workplace, and the family around your dinner table.
Respect is an emphasized theme in the Bible. Many passages speak of respecting elders, leaders, and those in authority. Here are 2 for example:
- 1 Peter 2:17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
- Romans 13:1-2 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
Apparently, the Lord desires for us to show respect for “All men.” This would include those with whom we do not agree with personally or politically. When Paul wrote this passage and when Peter penned these words, one of the most tyrannical, ungodly, and incredibly cruel leaders ever- was the Roman Emperor. Just look him up in a history book sometime. His name was Nero. If Paul and Peter could show respect to the leaders in their day, we can certainly show respect to our leaders today. Paul even set a goal to personally give the Gospel to the Emperor.
What about the social injustice? Some injustice is real. Some injustice is fabricated. Some injustice is embellished. And, some things happen because people make foolish personal decisions. If a person is acting suspiciously, fidgeting, pacing back and forth, or being loud and aggressive, people take note, and suspect something is wrong or about to go wrong. Where does “injustice” fit into this “respect thing.”
While I am for doing what is right for myself, my family, and for our community – it should be done with a realistic mindset. Human government, civil disobedience, political movements, and a more informed public will not achieve the goals of the social engineers or even the people who are sincerely trying to make the world a better place. Why not? Because we cannot do what only Jesus can do. Let me explain.
With worthy goals and good intentions, some people are organizing, coordinating on social media, and attempting to influence others to make things “better” or at least their version of what “better” is. But human ability, intellect, and willpower can only do so much. The human heart is misguided according to God in Jeremiah 17:9 when He warned us about following the human heart: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Only Jesus can change a heart. He is the only one who can create lasting and motivationally pure change. Even when we do the right thing, many times it is not with the right motive. We simply cannot do the work of God in righting all the wrongs in this world.
During the Millennial Kingdom, Jesus will rule this earth and He will bring about what many people are trying to achieve today: world peace and human harmony. Observe Isaiah 11:6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
This verse is speaking of the day when King Jesus is directing the world from His Millennial (1000 year) Reign in Jerusalem. No one would dispute or deny that the peace described in Isaiah 11:6 sounds wonderful. People want this peace.
Speaking about the Christians who will rule with Christ during the Millennial Kingdom, Jesus says in Revelation 2:27: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. Jesus will not tolerate any sin. No social injustice will be allowed. Jesus will ensure that no-one is taken advantage of. He will insure peace. He will provide civil, political, and social equality and stability the likes of this world has never seen. Leaders the world over in governments, think tanks, and college campuses can only dream of the incredible authority by which Jesus will rule.
But we cannot. We are not capable of achieving something that only God can do. So, while we wait for the Millennium, it is a good idea to have realistic goals and a right perspective of pointing people to Jesus. After all – He is their only hope.
Before the Millennium, there are several things that must happen prophetically. They are:
- The Rapture. When Christians are taken to Heaven and given new, sinless bodies. Christians are serving the Lord while waiting for the “trumpet to sound!”
- The Tribulation. When the Lord judges a Jesus rejecting earth. In this 7-year timespan the world will embrace and empower the Antichrist. He will set up a singular global empire consolidating all economies, militaries, governments, and religions (except Biblical Christianity because all the Christians were raptured).
- The Battle of Armageddon. Jesus returns to earth and defeats the Antichrist and all the enemies of God.
- The Touchdown. Jesus lands (bodily) on the Mount of Olives. The earth quakes and Jesus proceed to walk to Jerusalem and claim the eternal throne of King David.
- The Millennial Kingdom. Jesus sets up His 1000-year reign.
What many people claim they are working and hoping for will only come about – when Jesus is King. What should we do while we wait for this? Honor those in authority. Be thankful for the military. Understand the value of a nation respecting it’s flag and the lives sacrificed for what that flag stands for – freedom.
And the greatest thing you could do – introduce someone to Jesus. Give the Gospel. Help others know how to have their sins forgiven and a home in Heaven.