Our team allegiances can run deep. If you’re a die-hard Green Bay Packers fan, you might bristle when you run into someone who supports the Chicago Bears because the rivalry goes back decades. We’re quick to remember all the epic battles on the gridiron over the years. It gets heated on Saturday nights in winter, when cross-town rivals come together for a basketball game to determine who lands at the top of the conference. Our sides of the bleachers are sharply divided, and there is no crossing over.
We’re protective of our teams and have fierce loyalty. We will not stray to the other side and wouldn’t dream of rooting for anyone else.
This is how it used to be for our faith forefathers, the people of Israel set apart for the Lord and told not to mingle with the other teams or surrounding Gentile nations.
But Jesus changed all of this.
Jesus came with the purpose of uniting, not dividing.
“Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted and keep a humble attitude.” — 1 Peter 3:8
When Jesus lived out His ministry on earth, He purposefully sought out those who were on the fringes of society, the ones cast as lost causes and less-than. Jesus met them where they were and elevated them in His love. They saw Him as Messiah and shared Him with whoever they encountered.
nd living through His death on the cross and resurrection that reconciled us to a holy God broke the barriers wide open and all were welcome into His family. When the early believers came together, even when there was hesitancy, God intervened and assured those with uncertainties that things were different now: Jews and Gentiles mingled, nationalities blended and the Holy Spirit bonded all believers together.
“For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.” — Galatians 3:26-29
There are no barriers. We worship together, we live together and we love together. And by our unwavering allegiance to God, we are all on the same team, living and working for one cause: The Great Commission.
“Jesus came and told His disciples, ‘I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’” — Matthew 28:18-20
Jesus mandates us to go into all parts of the world, to all people, with His good news. As members of Team Jesus, we cross over sidelines to step into the action as one. We are the same under Christ, cheering one another on and supporting each other without thought of where we’ve come from and what could divide. Jesus put us on the ultimate team, and we celebrate our diversity while moving forward as one.
Sarah Freymuth is the Communications Manager for FCA and writes content for blogs, articles, Bible reading plans and devotionals that share God's heart with coaches and athletes. She played softball for Concordia University Wisconsin, is in their Hall of Fame, and has led FCA Huddles since high school.