A few weeks ago in the Chelsea v Arsenal game we saw the referee make a major mistake. Andre Marriner gave the wrong player a red card. The ball was heading towards the Arsenal goal and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain reached out his hand and hit the ball away – a great save in any goalkeeper’s books, but unfortunately he wasn’t the keeper! In the moments that followed, the referee presented the red card to Oxlade-Chamberlain’s team-mate Kieran Gibbs, who then had to leave the field and take no further part in the game.
I remember watching the replays and witnessing the desperation in Oxlade-Chamberlain’s plea to the referee, mouthing the words “it was me”. However, the decision was made and Gibbs, the innocent person had to pay the price for his team-mate’s mistake. Oxlade-Chamberlain deserved to be sent off for his mistake, but Gibbs took the punishment and the guilty man was able to continue playing the game.
At Easter, Christians all around the world reflect on the life, death and the coming back to life of Jesus Christ. What does it all mean? And what does Oxlade-Chamberlain have to do with it?
The Easter message is that Jesus takes the red card for all of humanity’s mistakes. The truth is that not one of us is perfect, we all have made mistakes. Like Oxlade-Chamberlain, we have all done the wrong thing at some time in our life and, like the handball, we deserve the red card. However Jesus is perfect, the Bible says He was without sin and He was innocent. The power of the Easter message is that even though we have made mistakes, and fall short of God’s perfect standard, God loves us too much to let us receive what we deserve: to receive the red card and be ‘sent off’ in the game of life. When Jesus dies on the cross, as the perfect and innocent sacrifice, he chooses to take the red card, he chooses to take away all the mistakes of humanity, he chooses to forgive our sin, and he chooses to take our place off the field.
Jesus took the red card for all humanity on the cross and through faith now everyone who believes can receive grace, forgiveness and eternal life. This Easter I hope you have some time to reflect on the power of God’s grace and love. I pray that all of you are blessed and have a wonderful Easter with your family and we pray for three points for Blues on Monday!
Kirk McAtear (@KirkMcAtear)
Club ChaplainKirk is also the minister of Connect Church, who meet in the Legends lounge at St. Andrew’s each Sunday at 10.30am. For more information go to www.connectchurchuk.com.