1. How would you define your purpose in life? How does this understanding of your purpose impact how you play or coach sports?
In a recent FCA huddle, three former college athletes who are now all coaches emphasized this point to the current athletes present: “Take advantage of the platform sports gives you for the Lord!” What exactly did they mean? As an athlete or coach, how do you know if you’re successfully utilizing the platform sports gives you for the Lord?
A few days after Christ’s death, his followers are still devastated – until suddenly the resurrected Jesus shows up where they’re hanging out. After Jesus gives them the clear evidence they need that he’s not a ghost and he really did rise bodily from the dead, he gives them this directive: “From now on, use the platform I give you for my ultimate purpose.” As followers of Christ today, we’re given this same directive by the resurrected Christ.
Read Luke 24:36-49
Every dimension of who Jesus is and what’s he’s done fulfills Old Testament prophecy. In fact, all of the Old Testament points to him. Jesus’ resurrection is both the fulfillment of prophecy and the confirmation that he truly is the Messiah, Lord, Son of God, and Savior of the world. When we take his resurrection seriously, it’s confirmation to us of who he is and what he’s done for us – and we surrender our lives in faith to him.
2. What do you find most challenging about what Jesus says in Luke 24:36-49? Why does this feel challenging to you?
As followers of Christ, we fully embrace his ultimate purpose: that people of every nation would have a chance to know this same good news we’ve experienced – forgiveness for their sins and life in him through Jesus’ death and resurrection (v. 47). To put it simply, our purpose is now to point others to the Risen Christ.
We do this in every area of our life, including the platform sports offers us for this purpose. How do we point others to Jesus, the Risen Christ? In vv. 47-49, we see three aspects of how to pursue this ultimate purpose Jesus gives us.
First, we use our words. It’s tempting to think, “I’ll just point people to Jesus by my actions – how I play or coach, how I live – rather than talking about him.” While it’s really important that our actions show who Jesus is, it’s not enough. In v. 47, Jesus is clear that the message of the gospel must be “proclaimed” or “preached.” This means we use our words to tell others about Jesus. As he gives you opportunities, courageously speak about why you play, coach, and live the way you do.
Second, we share from our personal experience. Jesus says in v. 48, “You are witnesses of all these things.” A witness is someone who shares what they’ve seen, heard, and experienced. The first followers of Jesus were direct witnesses of his life, death, and resurrection – but we today who follow Christ are no less witnesses of the work he’s done for us. A great way to point people to Jesus is to share your personal story of how he rescued you, drew you to himself, and gave you eternal life. Share how your relationship with the risen Christ makes a difference in your day to day life.
Third, we trust the Spirit’s power. In v. 49, Jesus is speaking about something that is still in the future for his original followers: the coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. But for us today, we’re given the Spirit the moment we place our faith in Christ, surrendering our life to him. Now the Spirit dwells within us and empowers us not only to live for Christ but also to point others to Christ. We’re able to courageously and successfully point people to Jesus by the Spirit’s power.
Sports is a platform given to you by God to pursue this ultimate purpose. Whether you play or coach, point people to the Risen Christ. Do this with your words as well as your actions. Speak from your personal experience of what Jesus has done and is doing for you. Trust the Spirit’s empowering as the Lord gives you opportunities to share with others about him. There is no greater privilege than to communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ, the most important message for all nations!
3. How are you doing currently in living out this purpose of pointing others to the Risen Christ? In what ways do you need to grow in pursuing this purpose? Talk to the Lord about this, and thank him for giving you his Spirit to empower you.
Luke 24:47-48 –
47 It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: “There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.” 48 You are witnesses of all these things.