BY REV. DR. KURT TRUCKSESS
Super Bowl Sunday is just around the corner. The event has become an unofficial national holiday with 114.4 million people tuning in for the game.
The broadcast is not just famous for its football. It is also famous for its witty commercials. In previous years, the game featured 71 commercials with a cost $4.5 million per 30 second slot.
The Super Bowl is also the second-largest day of food consumption in our nation. The only day we eat more is Thanksgiving. During the Super Bowl, Americans will eat 1.23 billion chicken wings, 615 million chickens, 28 million pounds of chips and down 8 million pounds of guacamole.
The game has become an annual celebration we enjoy with our family and friends. While most watching that Sunday claim they gather for the football, one in every five admit they watch simply to be with friends.
Is there anything Jesus would have us to do with this fun-filled football Sunday? What would Jesus do with the Super Bowl?
Luke 5 tells of Jesus calling one of his disciples named Matthew. He was a tax collector. In the ancient world, a tax collector was one step above a mob boss. They were known for pilfering and extortion. They were a crowd that was far from God.
After Jesus radically changed Matthew's life, Matthew found himself with an immediate concern for his friends. His tax collector buddies intentionally avoided anything associated with God. What could he do? How could he introduce them to Jesus? Matthew wasn't an accomplished speaker. His friends wouldn't be caught dead at a synagogue. Finally, he had an idea.
Matthew was known for throwing parties. Big parties. His friends were accustomed to crashing on his couch, pulling drinks from his refrigerator and feasting on chips with their feet on his coffee table.
Matthew decided to throw a party that wasn't for serving mixed drinks, but it was for serving a mixed crowd. He invited Jesus and his disciples to the same party he invited his tax collecting friends. His hope was that over the veggie tray and around the appetizers, friendships would be birthed, barriers would be broken and most important of all -- his friends would be introduced to Jesus in a non-threatening way they could understand.
How did it go? Simply amazing! While the religious elite of the day didn't like the breakdown in the barrier between their holy huddle and the people Jesus loved, Jesus applauded it. It wasn't a Bible study, but it was exactly what was needed. It was a party with a purpose.
If you are a Christian, have a great time watching the Super Bowl. Eat chicken wings, salsa and chips. I challenge you to throw the kind of Super Bowl party that Jesus will love -- a party with a purpose. Like Matthew, have a home full of good food, with good friends that wouldn't normally come to church. Don't stop there. Strategically invite a few of your Christian friends to watch the game with you so casual God-honoring conversations will take place around the game.
On Super Bowl Sunday, Americans will eat 4.4 million pizzas. We can't eat all those pizzas alone. Invite a great mixture of friends to eat them with you.