Here is the communion meditation I gave yesterday, before the Superbowl.

In life, as in football, things go wrong. Sometimes it is accidental – you find yourself above the speed limit while driving down a hill. You get back a dollar in change without realizing it until you get home. Sometimes it is intentional – you might be leaning on the gas pedal, thinking you can always use the hill as an excuse if you get caught. You might know that you ended up with an extra buck as change, and you decide not to tell the clerk, because prices are so high these days.

Intentional or not, there was a transgression. A law was broken – somebody was wronged.

It’s the same in football, accidental and intentional. You might go off-sides because you think their count is ready. Or you might try to spear the quarterback, and hope the ref doesn’t see you.

So there’s a transgression, and there’s a penalty. In football, that penalty goes against the team that committed it, and the penalty varies according to the transgression. In life, there’s really only one transgression against a holy and perfect God, and that is sin. It takes many forms, but it’s all sin. And there’s only one penalty – Romans 6:23 says “The wages of sin is death”.

In football, a coach of the offended team can decline the penalty. They decide that they would rather have the results of the play instead of having the transgression paid for. God doesn’t work that way. That wouldn’t be a just or fair thing to do – decide that the penalty doesn’t matter, that the transgression wasn’t really that big in the overall picture. God is holy and pure, and any transgression against Him, any sin, must be paid for.

What happens, though, in real life cannot happen in football. Someone else – Jesus Christ – has offered to pay the penalty for the transgression, even though He never sinned. That death penalty, because of the sin that we have committed, will still be paid – but instead of you and I dying for our sins, Jesus has died for them. Romans 5:8 says “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. The play was still on-going, and the penalty was paid.

It is only through Jesus’ death on the cross, and His resurrection from the tomb, that this penalty can be paid. We can’t be good enough. We can’t pay enough money. We can’t make promises. Every sin which we have committed or will commit against our holy Heavenly Father is a blood crime – and Jesus has already paid that debt. Thank you, Jesus!

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