Around Norman, Oklahoma, there lives a man known by many as the “King.” Though Coach Bob Stoops may now have more victories on his resume, the decade and a half of dominance by the Oklahoma Sooners under coach Barry Switzer in the the 70’s and 80’s have earned the self proclaimed “bootlegger’s boy” a regal title in central Oklahoma.
I still remember being on Owen Field in 1995 having just been announced as Homecoming King at OU. The ovation was impressive . . . but it was not for me! Right as they were announcing my name, Coach Switzer walked out onto the field for another pregame presentation. Even in a massive stadium, he needed no introduction! People celebrated just the sight of him. I would love the chance to thank Coach Switzer sometime for upstaging me in my 5 minutes of fame 🙂
When you are the King of Oklahoma football, you get certain privileges and opportunities. Coach Switzer can go to any OU football game he wants to, and would probably be able to address the team at any time. When you were a part of building a dynasty the way Barry did, these kinds of opportunities abound.
But imagine, if you will, if Coach Switzer was somehow shut out of the OU football program forever. Imagine if police were instructed to keep him out of the stadium or if OU Athletic director Joe Castiglione were to forbid his face from Sooner vision during the games. If this were to happen, you would assume that something had gone terribly wrong.
Though Barry is welcome on the OU sidelines, another King was once rejected by the very world He created. We saw yesterday, that the Eternal Son of God, the King of Kings, Jesus Christ created the world and everything in it. After a few thousand years of human history, God decided that the time was right to redeem the world through His Son, so Jesus was born to Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem. However, when the King of Kings showed up in the dynasty he had created, He was not welcome in the locker room. Look at what John says in his Gospel:
He (Jesus) came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him. (John 1:11)
Seeing Jesus rejected by the world He created should indicate to us that something had gone terribly wrong. Sin had so corrupted mankind’s senses, that even Jesus’ miraculous birth fulfilling dozens of Old Testament prophecies was misunderstood by His people – the nation of Israel.
However, at the moment of rejection by the leaders of Israel, an amazing thing happened . . . the King of Kings started a new team. He did not come to merely be a regional hero, Jesus was building a worldwide movement that would be for “all the people.” Though many people rejected Him, Jesus invited any who would receive Him and extended to all people the opportunity to become a child of God:
“But to all who did receive Him (Jesus), who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)
As someone who has no Jewish ancestry, I am so blessed by this gracious invitation by the Savior. God does not just speak Hebrew . . . He speaks English, Russian, and Zwahili also. He created the nations and He desires a relationship with the nations. At His birth, Jesus demonstrated that His dominion knew no end, and that there was hope for Jews and Gentiles alike.
Our connection to the King is not based on our race, the faith of our family, or what country issues our Passport. Our connection to the King is born out of an invitation by God that is received by faith. If we believe that Jesus is the Son of God and trust in Him alone for the forgiveness of sins, we can be saved. By this gift of grace by God received by faith in us, we can become a child of God . . . receiving all the blessings there in.
It is amazing to me that Jesus was rejected by His people . . . but it is even more amazing to me that He is accepting of me, a Gentile sinner.