Super Bible Bowl Sunday

A Twenty-First Century Allegory

By Evan Bartholomew, Lead Minister.

“Well sports fans…,” said the announcer, “It’s a beautiful day for a football game in this carefully constructed Our-Earth Football Stadium, where the Heaven Bound Saints face off against the heavy favorites, the World Soul-Stealers!” He continued, “Who would have guessed that the underdog of today’s game would be the Heaven Bound Saints, who have come back from a near totally lost season to going undefeated in the playoffs, and now making it to the pinnacle of football – the Super Bowl.”

The football commentator beside him piped in, “On the other hand, we have the World Soul Stealers, who have dominated all the other teams throughout the season!”

The announcer nodding in agreement, went on, “It should be a good one today! Let’s get to the opening coin toss…”

A few players from both teams stepped on to the field and began to approach the center of the fifty-yard line. The team captains stood tall as they looked at the opposite teams star players. Careful not to break eye contact, they finally arrived at center field. The head referee of the game walked up, and began to rifle through his standard issue, New International Version, white referee pants, trying to find the coin for the toss.

With a concerned and displeased look on his face, he looked up and said, “It’s not here!”

“What’s not here?” Jesus, the captain and quarterback of the Saints asked.

“The coin!” the referee responded, “I must have forgot it somewhere?”

Jesus looked at him and loved him, “You should always be prepared!” He said. Then He looked around, motioned to the crowd, and shouted, “Bring me a Denarius!”

Someone in the crowd ran out and brought Him the coin, and the toss was on! Unfortunately, as it was in the air, one of the star players on the Stealers’ team, a Pharisee, reached out and snagged the coin before it hit the ground. Lucifer, the team captain and middle linebacker for the Stealers, looked at him in disgust. Immediately, guilt set over the pharisee. Nevertheless, the referee blew the whistle, and awarded the coin toss to the the underdogs – the Saints! They elected to receive the ball.

The opening kickoff was about to be kicked, and the game about to begin. Suddenly, as the Stealers were setting up the ball to be kicked, a strong, violent wind kept gusting through and knocking the ball off of the stand. Frustrated by the delay, the Saints called a time out. They looked around, and noticed that Jonah, one of the blockers for special teams, had run off the field with a bad case of pre-game jitters! With great patience and careful instruction, the trainers settled him down and brought him back onto the field. Miraculously, the winds died down instantly after Jonah set foot on the field again, and the Stealers set the ball back on the stand! Objecting to any further delay, they quickly kicked the “pigskin.”

“Were underway here at Our-Earth Stadium ladies and gentlemen!”, said the announcer.

The ball sored through the air and was carefully caught by the apostle John. John usually returned the kicks for the Saints because he was faster than the apostle Peter! He started to run, dodged a few near-death tackles, but was finally caught up to and brought down at the 37 yard line by Nero, the cornerback for the Stealers. The Saints’ offense ran out onto the field, quickly huddled up, and then setup on the line for the first play of the game!

“Hut, hut, hut…!” yelled Jesus.

The women get ready to baptize Chelsea! (photo by Mahe Directo)

Then, knowing the thoughts of the tough Stealers’ defense, Jesus sensed a blitz and called an audible. The offense rotated positions, and He took the snap. He backed up as He looked for the pass. With nobody open, He quickly moved to avoid the blitz , but the defensive onslaught collapsed on Jesus. The crowd gasped!

“It’s a sack!”, exclaimed the announcer. “Wait a minute….”, he continued, “Jesus has escaped from the crowd untouched!”

Jesus ran to the 44 yard line, and picked up a seven yard gain. It was second down, and three yards to go for the first down. Jesus snapped the ball again and handed it off to the running back, Ananias, who was the husband of Sapphira. He saw an opening and ran for it, but came up short for the first down. Disappointed with Ananias, the team made a substitution, huddled back together, and lined up for another play. It was now third down, with still three yards to go. Jesus snapped the ball again. He stepped into the pocket and looked down field. He threw the ball to a wide open receiver down field – Judas! Judas was known to have sticky hands, especially when it came to money. The ball flew through the air in a perfect spiral, and was caught by Judas, who was way out in front of the defense. It was a sure touchdown. However, instead of running for the touchdown, he took a sharp turn, spun around, and began to run back in the other direction. Again, the crowd gasped! The Saints were caught with such surprise, that Judas managed to run all the way to their own end zone. It was a safety for the Stealers, who now led 2 to 0!

“What a shame,” laughed the commentator, “I wonder if the Saints anticipated Judas being a traitor?”

In spite of Judas’ blunder, the score remained virtually unchanged all the way until the end of the third quarter. The Saints were now five points down, thanks to a field goal that the Stealers had made in the second quarter! The words of their coach at half time were still fresh in their minds.

“The only reason we’re down is because we’re beating ourselves…” He explained to His players in the locker room, “The only way we can lose is if we continue to beat ourselves.”

Abba was a veteran coach who had been with His team since the very beginning! Nevertheless, it was the end of the third quarter, and the Saints needed a score. It was third down and goal, on the 8 yard line. Jesus snapped the ball, and turned to the second string running back – Peter. Jesus extended both of His arms out, with the football sandwiched in between His hands to make the hand off. But Peter denied the ball. Again, Jesus tried to hand off the ball to Peter. He denied it again. Then, Peter denied it a third time, and Jesus threw the ball out of bounds.

“For some reason, Peter didn’t grab the football from Jesus.”, the announcer said in disbelief.

(l-r) Mel, Chelsea, Kelly and Renee stand together after Chelsea got baptized! (photo by Mahe Directo)

Jesus looked at Peter with disappointment in His eyes. One of the players for the Stealers, named Rooster, began to taunt and make fun of Peter. However, Peter pulled himself together and apologized to the team. They accepted and lined up on the line again for another play. It was fourth down, with 8 yards to go. Jesus took the snap, and handed it off to John. He took the ball, and began to run. Moses, was running out in front of John to block. Suddenly, Moses pulled out a long stick. He raised the staff above his head, and the defense began to split apart. A hole opened up, and John ran in for the touch down, and the lead!

“Well done, good and faithful servants…well done!” said the exhausted Jesus.

The quarter finished out with the underdog Saints leading 7 to 5 over the Stealers after the extra point was kicked. The lead didn’t last too long though. In the beginning of the fourth quarter, Simon “The Sorcerer” Magus, returned the kickoff 89 yards for a touch down. The fans were shocked. After looking at the instant replay, the commentators pointed out why the defensive special teams broke down so easily.

“It seems as if David was flirting with one of the cheer leaders on the sidelines instead of watching the game…”, explained the announcer, “I think her name is Bathsheba?”

He went on, “John Mark just totally abandoned the field in the middle of play!”, and “Paul, who actually used to play for the Stealers just got beat up on the field by all the Stealers’ blockers.”

Just like that, the Saints were behind the Stealers 12 to 7. A few plays later, The Saints came close to regaining the lead, but Lucifer tempted Adam, the Saints’ Center blocker on their offensive line to take a bite out of the football instead of hiking it to Jesus. The bite was costly, and it forced a major turnover. The Stealers now had the ball. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Stealers were fourth and goal at the five yard line. They decided to go for it to seal the victory! They snapped the ball and gave it to their running back. As he began to run, Elisha on the Saints team, prayed that his eyes would be opened. When they were, he saw what seemed to be chariots of fire surrounding the end zone. Utterly afraid, the Stealers’ running back quickly threw the ball in the air and hit the deck. The Saints recovered the football and ran it back the other way for a few yards. Both teams continued to battle on the “gridiron” for almost the whole rest of the quarter with neither team scoring any points.

Finally, with time for one play left on the clock at the end of the fourth quarter, and a chance to regain the lead for the victory, Jesus and His Saints lined up at the line of scrimmage – just 13 yards from the goal. Lucifer, and his defense had up until this point dominated the battered Saints’ offense.

“Who will Jesus go to in the clutch?” the announcer said in anticipation.

The crowd was almost totally silent. The game clock stood still at just 2.6 seconds. Sweat, dirt, and blood was smeared all over both team’s jerseys and helmets. The defense of the Stealers grunted and growled trying to intimidate and freeze the Saints’ offense. Jesus, although being in anguish, lined up behind His center. He looked up at His team, then over at the defense. As He scanned over their faces, one face stuck out. It was Lucifer, the captain of the other team. His face was fierce, like a roaring lion who never sleeps. Then Jesus, locking His eyes with Lucifer, lifted His face and smiled! Lucifer’s face dropped.

Robbie and Linda shine together in the church! They help shepherd the church! (photo by Kelly Bartholomew)

“Could He have a trick up His sleeve?”, he questioned.

With the snap of the ball, Jesus backed up, and once again looked to Peter. This time, Peter grabbed the ball as tight as he could and began to run behind Jesus. One defender, then two, Jesus pushed them out of the way as He blocked for Peter. Lucifer began bearing down on Peter like he was ready to sift him like wheat.

“It looks like this is going to come down to the goal line”, the announcer shrieked.

Jesus seeing Lucifer closing in, dove at him with His whole body. The sound of the hit filled the whole stadium. Peter jumped over both players, who were now lying on the field, and into the end zone with the time clock reading zero. It was victory!

The few in the crowd who were cheering for the underdog Saints erupted with cheers of triumph, and tears of joy! The overwhelming majority of Stealers’ fans were totally baffled and distraught.

“How could they lose?”, they thought.

The Saints team jumped around and hugged each other.

“Who would have thought we’d make it this far?”, they laughed.

Yet, just as soon as victory was sweet, the announcer began to speak, “There’s a player still down on the field!”

Jesus, the quarterback who threw His body at Lucifer, the Stealers hardest hitter, was just lying there without movement. The trainers rushed on to the field only to find Jesus totally unconscious. The trainers, along with the Saints’ fans looked on with disgust. Had Jesus, in this last effort to propel His team to victory, sacrificed His life? Although the glory was their’s, the Saints couldn’t have done it without the leadership of their quarterback and captain – Jesus Christ! For three minutes, Jesus was without any movement. Finally, His hands began to move. Then His feet. The Saints’ trainer, Thomas, whom some called Didymus, asked Jesus to show him His hands and feet, and then where Lucifer had hit Him in His side.

Miraculously, Jesus got up, raised His hands in the air and shouted, “Now…it is finished!”

“…Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57 NIV.