Last Saturday night I watched one of the best college football games I have seen in recent memory. In the game, the University of Oklahoma (my alma mater) beat their bedlam rival Oklahoma State University at their place 47-41. As I woke up Sunday morning, I actually thought, “That game was so great, I bet everyone loved it as much as I did.” My OU fandom blinded me from seeing the obvious, this game was a favorite of mine because my team WON, and to the victor go the spoils. To an OSU fan, they might argue that the game was a bit more disappointing. In fact, they might point back to 2001 or 2002 as some of the greatest Bedlam football games . . . for some reason, I can’t remember who won those games, but I am SURE they were not as exciting.
My experience reflecting on this football game reminded me that whose side you are on directly impacts your understanding of the events that have transpired. The Revolutionary War is a highlight of American History, but a footnote across the pond. The 2008 Presidential election was great news for those in blue, but something to avoid for those in red. This is true in many areas of life, and it is also true for stories in the Bible.
Take Noah’s Ark, for instance. The story of Noah and his family floating to safety with two of every animal amidst a devastating flood is a favorite Bible story of many today. Visit any “Baby’s ‘R Us” or Target store and see aisles and aisles of baby decor with Noah’s Ark theming. As a people, we love this story . . . but does everyone love this story? Well, for Noah and his family, the story is about salvation and divine provision. For the rest of humanity, however, Noah’s Ark is a story of Divine judgment, where God’s wrath against sin is demonstrated in a dramatic way. Romans 6:23 states that the “wages of sin is death.” Noah’s Ark is a story that really shows that in 3-D. For the Noah’s of the world, it is a children’s story of salvation and life, but for everyone else, it is a story of wrath and death.
As we prepare for Christmas as a people this year, we need to remember that the story of Jesus Christ is only an OFFER of Good News for all people. It is only those who are “in the boat with Jesus” that will be saved when the flood of God’s judgment on sin is poured out. For all others, they will have to suffer the consequences for their own sins. Jesus birth offers us a reminder that there is a Righteous One (Jesus) who was born to die for our sins so that He might pay the wages our sin deserves, and so that we might have eternal life. All those who place their faith in this truth climb on the boat with Christ and are saved. Have you accepted this offer today? Have those in your circle of influence accepted this offer? This Christmas season, whose side are you on?