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  • by Joe Smith

    Whether you agree with it or not, fighting is a part of hockey. At times, it’s pretty easy to spot the winner and the loser after the fists stop flying. Other times, not so much….it usually looks like both sides lost! Very often a player will succeed in knocking his opponent to the ice. Lying on the ice, the defenseless player now finds himself in a very vulnerable position where his competitor has the opportunity to land a free punch. If you’ve watched enough fights you soon realize the majority of players don’t follow through on this bush league move. Even though the guy they have just put on the ice might deserve a few knuckles to the melon, the dominating fighter usually holds off and allows the linesmen to break up the fight.

    This scene made me think of a man in the Bible who had his “opponents” in a similarly vulnerable position with the opportunity to make them pay. This man was Joseph who we have already talked about in an earlier article. It was explained how he was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, but God’s plan was for Joseph to climb the ranks and become the second highest ranking official in Egypt. When a major famine swept over the land people from all over were coming to ask the Egyptians for food. After some time, a group of men from the land of Israel stood before him looking for relief. Joseph found himself standing face to face with his brothers, but they no longer recognized him. Joseph had been abused, mistreated, and betrayed by his own flesh and blood and now he had the chance to give it right back to them! You can read the full story in Genesis 39-45, but the end result was Joseph forgiving them and inviting them to come to Egypt where they would be protected and provided for.

    This is a great picture of what Jesus did for us. We were born as enemies of God (Colossians 1:21). We were at odds with God and considering we can’t get to heaven without him, He had us in a vulnerable position. God would be completely justified in punching our spiritual lights out and we would deserve it all, but that’s not what he did. Actually, a more accurate comparison would be if during a game you:

    • Chopped a guy in the back of the legs
    • Punched him in the face
    • Threw a little head butt in for good measure

    all before the fight even started. You would think your opponent would be so enraged they would give you a fist to the face while laying helpless on the ice. But God doesn’t give us what we deserve. God shows mercy. We have been spiritually separated from God because of our sin. However, God sent his son as a sacrifice for us so that we could spend eternity in heaven with God and have a personal relationship with him. God sent His son to pay the penalty that we deserved. All we need to do is believe in the power of the cross. Romans 5:8 says: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

    Joseph is a really cool representation of what Christ would later accomplish in the New Testament. Joseph showed amazing compassion and mercy towards his brothers. We can all relate to Joseph’s brothers because in the New Testament version WE are the brothers. Thank God He doesn’t give us what we deserve. He gives (and will continue to give) more than we can ever imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

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