International Rugby and Jesus’ New World.
The excitement of the Six Nations rugby championship reminded me of the inspiring story of the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Under President Nelson Mandela, South Africa was struggling to shake off its apartheid past, and it was President Mandela who saw the potential for a Springbok victory to unite the nation. This led to the unprecedented sight of the (mostly white) Springbok players appearing in the townships to teach rugby to excited crowds of (mostly black) young lads. International rugby had been an apartheid sport, denied to the majority. But a new world was coming! Now, for the first time, any of those young lads from the townships could point to a Springbok squad member and say, “Look! That can be me! Something new and wonderful has started happening, and there’s nothing to stop me being part of it!”
I think that this sense of something new and wonderful is exactly what the first disciples came to see in Jesus. He was the beginning of a new society (a renewed human race!) in which the old handicaps and constraints were being swept aside to make way for a new order. Jesus was living life as God had always intended it to be lived by human beings. Thus Jesus feeds a crowd of five thousand with five loaves of bread. Why? Because men and women were never intended to go hungry, and in His new world, because of Him, they won’t. And when the disciples in their boat struggle against the weather, He walks out to them across the sea, and in His presence the wind meekly subsides. Why? Because men and women were never intended to be at the mercy of violent forces of nature, and in His new world, because of Him, they won’t. And He dies on a Roman cross, a condemned law-breaker. Why? Because men and women were never intended to suffer alienation from God as rebellious law-breakers, and in His new world, because of His sacrifice, they won’t.
Jesus was the start of a new world indeed. Now, for the first time, any human being can point to Him and say, “Look! There in Jesus something new and wonderful has started happening, and there’s nothing to stop me being part of it!” Not that the new world is complete (nor that in South Africa); it won’t be until Jesus returns visibly to establish His new heaven and new earth! But it has started! It’s seen where lives are changed, hunger tackled, the needy cared for. Jesus’ new world has begun!
So what about you? Can you to point to Jesus and say, “There’s a new world starting with Him, and I want to be part of it”? I hope so.
© 2018 Trowbridge St James'