The holiday clubs are over and the soggy grey weather has returned....
Super Bowl Fifty will be the most watched TV programme this year. Over 160 million people worldwide will watch the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, compete for the Lombardi Trophy. The winners will wear their rings with pride and the world will applaud the teams for getting to the final.
It is also a struggle between two men. Peyton Manning is 39, been in the Super Bowl thrice before, won once and stated this will be his ‘last rodeo’. He is expected to retire after seasons of injury and take his well-deserved place in the pro-football Hall of Fame. Cam Newton is in his fifth season as quarter-back, but is a leader, who not only throws the ball well but can rush to the end-zone, scoring touchdowns. The Panthers won 15 games only losing once to get to this stage. It is not just about American football. It is about money and business. Adverts cost five million dollars for 30 seconds. We are bombarded with puppies, carthorses and the famous, urging us to buy beer, cars and snacks. The Levi Stadium was the most securely guarded part of America for days. The game brings in 500 million dollars to the area. One fan paid $21,000 for his ticket. The real highlight is the music displays. Lady Gaga sang the National Anthem. Coldplay and Beyonce cavorted to headline the half-time show. The glitz, glamour, skill and money-making all come together to make this wild spectacle.
All very different from Peter, James and John watching a meeting between Moses, Elijah and Jesus on a mountain top. Moses represented the Law, Elijah the prophets, and Jesus the fulfilment of God’s revelation to humanity. The face of Jesus shone. He was transfigured. The full glory of Christ was seen in that encounter. The disciples heard the voice of God saying, ‘This is my Beloved Son, the Chosen One. Listen to Him’. They wanted to make this a permanent place and stay there, but Jesus led them back down the mountain to the reality of life. There was an only son, who had convulsions and his father pleaded for Jesus to heal him. The boy was restored to his right mind. Jesus was back to His business of saving the world and bring healing and restoration to all.
The shimmering lights fade. The enthrallment of the game ends. There are winners and losers. All of us go back to real life (at least, those who don’t call in sick on the day after). We can’t live on the mountain top. There is a losing team and a great deal of trash to clean up.
Living with Jesus is about having the reflected glory of God in us and with us. Jesus transforms each and every day. He comes alongside us in the ordinary and humdrum. He has the capacity to make everything different. He brings healing and restoration, but we have to listen to the Son of God. His words and teachings need not just to be heard, but learned and transformed into practice. We can all win in the Super Bowl of life, if the captain of our team is the Lord and Saviour.