Jesus Christ and the Underdog
An underdog is a person or team who is expected to lose a fight or contest. This term originated from the probability theory in the 17th century as a result of a gambling problem involving dice throwing. Since those days almost every industry and individual uses the probability theory daily. Insurance actuarial tables are probability charts, and so are sports betting odds that have the favorite and the underdog.
From the point of view of a normal observer the underdog has little or no chance of winning against his opponent because of the insurmountable obstacles and problems that he has to face. Just take the case of a young shepherd boy named David who wanted to fight against the Philistines giant Goliath whose height is six cubits and a span (over nine feet). When David brought some food to his brothers in the army camp his eldest brother Eliab rebuked him: "Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle." (1 Sam. 17:28) David was not discouraged but went to see King Saul who said to him: "You are not able go against the Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth." (1 Sam. 17:33) Here you see young David is the classic biblical underdog. Nobody gave him a chance to win.
Let us look at this list of biblical underdogs that God had used and gave them the victory
Noah must have been rediculed for building an enormous ark on dry land when it has never rained.
Abraham and his son Isaac lied about their wives to save their own skins.
Jacob was a liar and a cheat and ran away from his enraged brother.
Joseph's own brothers hated him so much that they sold him as a slave.
Moses was eighty years old, had never been with the Israelites when God called him to lead them.
Rahab was a liar. She, Hosea’s wife and Mary Magdalene were all prostitutes.
Samson had long hair and gave away his strength's secret to a woman
Gideon doubted God's calling and Thomas doubted Jesus had resurrected.
Jonah ran away from God and got swallowed by a big fish.
Elijah was scared of a woman’s
threat and suffered from depression
Amos' only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning.
David was an adulterer, murderer
and a fugitive from his own son.
Peter was a coward and denied the Lord Jesus Christ three times
Paul was the chief of sinners, a persecutor and murderer of Christians.
If God could use all these less than perfect underdogs and molded them into holy men and women for His work He can also do the same for you. Have a high regard for yourself and always give God all the glory and praise. He will use you if you offer yourself to Him.
Lord Jesus Christ – the world’s greatest Underdog of all Time
“Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form of comeliness; And when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.” (Isa. 53:1-3)
Due to a regional prejudice it was not easy for a person living in Israel during the time of our Lord Jesus to accept Him as the Messiah. He was born in a manger and grew up as the son of a carpenter in Nazareth which was a small town that had no religious significance whatsoever. People were asking, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (Jn. 1:46) For the most part of His ministry Jesus preached in Galilee, a region where a lot of Gentiles lived. (Isa. 9:1) Again, people were questioning, “Will the Christ come out of Galilee?” (Jn. 7:41) They insisted, “No prophet has arisen out of Galilee.” (Jn. 7:52) Although many people came to hear Him preach yet they still doubted His Messiahship. “And they said, ‘Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven.” (Jn. 6:42) After Jesus read the Scriptures in the Synagogue in Nazareth the people were surprised and said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” (Lk. 4:22) Then He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country.” (Lk. 4:24) “Then all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.” (Lk. 4:28-30) “Pilate said to them, ‘What shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ? They all said to him, ‘Let Him be crucified!’ Then the governor said, ‘Why, what evil has He done?’ But they cried out all the more, saying, ‘’Let Him be crucified.’” (Mt. 27:22-23)
“He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, Nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (Jn. 1:11-13)
Jesus came to save the world’s Underdogs
If you look around the people who come to church you will see mostly ordinary folks and not many celebrities and multi-billionaires. “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called.” (1 Cor. 1:26) The people that our Lord Jesus Christ called to become His apostles were fishermen that had very little education. (Mk. 1:16-20) “Now at evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed.” (Mk. 1:32) “Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples, for there were many, and they followed Him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, ‘How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?’ When Jesus heard it, He said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Mk. 2:15-17) No wonder the apostle Paul wrote: “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” (1 Tim. 1:15) One of the most startling statements our Lord ever made to the chief priests and the elders in the temple is this: “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him, and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him.” (Mt. 21:31-32) It was not an endorsement of that lifestyle, but a condemnation of unbelief, self-righteousness, hardheartedness and the rejection of baptism. (Lk. 7:29-30) All the underdogs in the world can be saved when they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, repent of their sins and receive the baptism into Him. (Acts 2:38)
The Lord Jesus Christ’s Ministry to the Underdogs
“So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD." Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." (Lk. 4:16-21)
When we read further about the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ we find that he often ministered to the underdogs that included the poor, sick, the disabled, the lepers, the blind, the insane, the demon-possessed, widows, orphans, runaways, castaways, and refugees. In His Sermon on the Mount they were among the “blessed”. (Mt. 5:3-10) And He had declared that He had come to bring the good news to them. (Lk. 4:17-18) So it was no surprise that when John’s questioning disciples came to ask whether He was indeed the Messiah, they found Him ministering among the underdogs (Lk. 7:20-21)
A Bible Study based on this Article was conducted by Paul Wong
for a Congregation in Houston, Texas on September 13, 2002
For comments please write first to: email@example.com
May God bless you.
An Underdog Football team that Won through Prayers
SportingNews.com used the David versus Goliath analogy to describe the inaugural match on Sunday September 8, 2002 between the Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Texans in this way:
“Considering that 24 Cowboys are in their first or second seasons, the best way to describe the David vs. Goliath status of these NFL teams might be by using a college analogy.
So for top draft pick Williams, who went to Oklahoma, losing to the Texans would be the equivalent of losing to Baylor. And for second-year quarterback Quincy Carter, who went to Georgia, it would be like losing to Vanderbilt.
"Hey, I lost to Vanderbilt when I was at South Carolina," running back Troy Hambrick said. "That showed me you've got to come juiced up to play, or you'll get whipped."
Dallas players have been saying all the right things about the Texans. Most of the talk is about the promise of quarterback David Carr and the presence of perennial Pro Bowl pick Tony Boselli, even if he is hurt.
"Just because they're an expansion team doesn't mean they can't play football," running back Emmitt Smith said. "You need to get off that. That's why they call it "any given Sunday."'
The Dallas Cowboys has been my favorite football team since the Oilers left Houston for Nashville, TN in 1996. Now that the National Football League has returned to Houston my favorite team is the Texans. I shall still root for the Dallas Cowboys in their games against other teams.
The Dallas Cowboys franchise is the most successful in the history of the National Football League. In their 40 years of existence, the Cowboys have 27 winning seasons (and 2 500 seasons), made the playoffs 26 times, won 18 division championships, and participated in eight of the 34 Super Bowls, winning 5 of them. Between 1966 and 1985, the Cowboys had 20 consecutive winning seasons. In the Super Bowl years (since 1966), the Dallas Cowboys have the best record of any football team as shown in the Summary of Franchise Records. The Houston Texans expansion team simply do not measure up to the Dallas Cowboys.
Even with David Carr as their quarterback the Houston Texan was still an eight point underdog to the Cowboys. There were no less than five rookies playing in the Houston offensive line. The Cowboys have the heaviest offensive line in the NFL (average weight is 329 lbs.) The Cowboys were in the top five teams for defense last year. Their first draft pick Roy Williams have played in the Oklahoma championship team. The Cowboys have won three of their preseason games whereas the Texans have lost three. The Cowboys have won several Super bowls and have become known as “America’s Team” since 1966, but before Sunday September 8, 2002 the Texans have yet to play their first official NFL game. There is simply no comparison between the two teams. Anyone who knows even a little bit about professional football in America would have given the Texans little or absolutely no chance of beating the Cowboys. Besides, in the history of the NFL, only one expansion team has ever won its inaugural game. That was in 1961 when the Minnesota Vikings beat the Chicago Bears. Before Sunday’s game people were not talking about which team would win, all talk was about the margin of victory for the Cowboys. One sportswriter recalled how the Pittsburgh Steelers had beaten the expansion team Cleveland Browns 44-0 in their inaugural game in 1999. One Cowboy fan had predicted on Sports Channel ESPN the same score for Sunday's game - Cowboys 44 Texans 0.
We all know the actual score now. Texans 19 Cowboys 10. The underdog has beaten the favorite by 9 points. In sports talk it is called an upset. The improbable became the reality. Here is what the Texans running back James Allen said: “This city wanted it. This city deserves it. To stand there at the end and just listen to them all go crazy, that’s what it’s all about. It’s like the heavens were with us.” James Allen is absolutely right.
The Heavens are with Those that Pray
The heavens were with the Houston Texans on Sunday September 8, 2002. They had planned to open the retractable roof during the game. There was a thunderstorm in Houston just hours before the game so they closed the retractable roof. The stadium with the closed roof became very loud with the thunderous shouting of the home crowd of 69,604 fans every time the Cowboys lined up for the snap. It was difficult for their players to hear the signals. Jerry Jones, the Cowboys’ owner, said this loud noise contributed to the Texans’ win. He did not acknowledge it was God sending rain to Houston just at the right moment before the game causing the retractable roof to be closed. If you believe in God there is no coincident for He works in mysterious ways (Deut. 28:12). You may ask why would God help the Texans. It is because they are the underdogs and God always help those that pray to Him in humility. (1 Cor. 1:20-29; Lk. 18:13-14; Psm. 91:14-15) You can see the photo of Billy Miller, the Texans tight end, praying in the end zone before the game started. Just a few minutes into the first quarter David Carr threw the ball to Billy Miller who ran and scored the first touchdown in the history of the Houston Texans. Billy Miller again knelt down to pray in the end zone after he had scored the touchdown. In his interview with a KTRK television reporter after the game he also said that he prays and reads the Bible every morning. That is also what David Carr does. You can see these two Christian football players are Bible-reading prayer partners both on and off the field. Amazing! Prayer really works for every believer, everywhere and every time.
Prayer is an important factor in maintaining the good health of David Carr. The brothers and sisters in the ARK Forum all over the world have been praying for him. Just as expected, the Dallas Cowboys defensive unit blitzed him relentlessly. David Carr was sacked six times, but thank God for His protection he was not injured at all. Please pray for David Carr.
Paul Wong is a Christian minister and the
President of ARK International.
His ministry also serves as an architectural service company in Houston.
The ARK Forum on the Internet is international and non-denominational.