Leap of Faith (John 8:12)

By | February 14, 2010

Super Bowl Sundays #2
Super Bowl Commercial Sunday


     I think that Monster.Com commercial is funny. I loved the fiddle playing beaver. However, the began with a wrong premise which anybody who listens to Country Western or Blue Grass can tell you immediately.

     A fiddle playing beaver wouldn’t be applying for the position of a Violinist. They may be the same instrument but they sure aren’t played the same. So, Monster.Com is one of those commercials which bends the truth a little to get their message out to you. Which is why I choose to do this sermon based on the Super Bowl commercials.

     Some of the commercials have a very good message, but others don’t. And a number of them (primarily ones I wouldn’t show in church) deal with breaking any number of the Ten Commandments. There will be plenty of Scripture this morning but I want to begin with John 8:12

     Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”

     This morning I thought I would use some of the song titles the Who performed in the halftime show as the outline as we look at how a portion of the world interprets life. Then hopefully we can shed the Light of Christ on their message and remind us of God’s Message through Christ.

     The reason for the Who song title outline is that the commercials fell into about 3 major categories and my warped brain made a connection with those song titles. They are: WHO ARE YOU; WON’T GET FOOLED AGAIN; SEE ME, FEEL ME.


     A. From the moment of our birth, every one of us wrestles with the very the basic existential questions dealing with our personal identity. “Who am I? What is my purpose in life? Why am I here?”

     There were three commercials which dealt with personal identity.  Snickers, Dove for Men and the Intel Lunch Room scene. Watch:

     Snickers tells us that “You’re not you when you’re hungry.” Dove tells us Dove for men can make us “Comfortable in your own skin.” However, the Intel commercial actually reminds us that what others say about us isn’t necessarily the truth and we shouldn’t listen to it.

     The truth is what the world says about us is definitely not what God says about us or what Jesus says about us. It’s only when we accept what God has done for us through Christ, by accepting Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives, that we can really begin to receive and understand what God says about us. And what God expects of us.

     You see, until we accept Christ, generally speaking, we let the world tell us who we are. The consumeristic world who’s philosophy is “Whoever dies with the most toys wins.”      The consumeristic world which says, “Do unto others before they do unto you. Look out for number one. Be the firstest with the mostest. Me first, me only.” The consumeristic world which continually tells us we’re “not good enough, bright enough, pretty or handsome enough; that we don’t dress right, eat right or drive the right car.” The consumeristic world which fosters the lie that, “We can have it your way and have it right now,” and that will make everything OK.

     B. But none of that is what God says about us. In the very first book of Genesis, God created the world and everything in it and said it was “good.” But God created humankind, man and woman, and said, “it is very good.” God’s pronouncement is what gives us our identity, not what world says, not our actions, not our mistakes.

     Genesis 17:7 (NRSV) “I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.”

     Jeremiah 30:22 (NRSV) “You shall be my people, and I will be your God.”

     John 15: 15 (NRSV) I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.”

     Paul reminds us, in Romans 8, that we are the Children of God, Heirs with Christ.

     Romans 8:14-17 (NRSV) “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption.

     When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.”

     And my favorite passage of Scripture which talks about just how important we are to God is in the book of Isaiah.

     Isaiah 49:16 (NRSV) “See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands.” God has your name written in indelible ink on the palm of his hand. That’s how important you are to God. That what God says about us.

     It’s not the snack we eat, the skin care products we use or what other people think of us that matters. We find our true identity in God. So, when The Who or anyone else ever asks “Who are you?” Your answer is, “I’m a child of God, created in the image of God, a friend of Jesus, a brother or sister of Christ and an heir of the Kingdom of God.” Not too shabby of an identity is it?


     A. ACTIONS The next set of commercials fall under the song Title and Category: Won’t Get Fooled Again. Mainly because sometimes we make fools out of ourselves and we hope we’ll grow out of it. Sometimes we fool ourselves and sometimes the world fools us and we are determined that Won’t Get Fooled Again. These two Doritos commercials illustrate what I’m talking about. Watch:

     As funny as both of those commercials are, the guys in them aren’t very bright. Neither one of them seemed to have any sense of self restraint against temptation. And they both got what they deserved. But while justice was served and we were glad to see them get their just desserts as we say, that call is up to God. We’re called NOT to judge.

     In Luke 6:37 (NRSV) Jesus said “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven;”

     But beyond judgment, these commercials deal with temptation which is a very real part of life. Of course, the commercials promote succumbing to temptation to fill your craving. However, Scripture speaks differently about temptation.

     In 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NRSV), the apostle Paul writes: “No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.”And that way out is Jesus. The author of Hebrews writes this:

     Hebrews 4:14-16 (NRSV) Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession.

     For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

     B. BELIEF The world says we’re not strong enough to overcome temptation, Jesus says: Wrong Answer. The world is full of wrong answers. And as the Cars.com commercial shows, we might have all the answers in the world but still not be able to do what we want to do because there is something missing or our lives are filled with fear. Watch: Cars.com – Timothy Richmond:

     The commercial clearly points out that knowledge, even vast amounts of knowledge is not enough. We all lack one thing. For them, it’s the information their website can offer. But for us, it is the very presence of Jesus in our daily lives through the power of God’s Holy Spirit. And that only comes through faith. It doesn’t come through vast amounts of knowledge about the Bible. It’s not about knowledge for us, it’s about faith.

     In Romans 3:20-25 (NRSV) “For “no human being will be justified in his sight” by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.

     But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.

     For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith.” In other words, knowledge can only teach us about sin, but faith, faith in Christ, gives us both the answer and the antidote, so to speak, to sin.


     There’s one more point I want to make in this section of Won’t Get Fooled Again, and it has to do with one of the Bud Light commercials and a Coke commercial. Watch:

     The Bud Light commercial is very fatalistic and basically says, if the end is coming then party hard and get it all in before our time is up. That’s not what Jesus said. In John 14, Jesus tells us that He is going to prepare a place for us so that where He is, we may be also. He wants us with Him, but it’s up to us to be ready.

     Because in Matthew 24:42 & 44 (NRSV) He says: “Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. . . . Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”

     If we live and trust in what the world says is reality, we’ll be sorely disappointed. The Coke commercial promises that if we drink Coke, happiness will be ours and all our problems will be solved. If that so, since Coke is the number one recognizable logo in the world and the number one soft drink in the world, shouldn’t our world be a happy and a place where there is no misery, no racial injustice or discrimination, no hate, nothing to separate us? But we know that’s not true.

     In the world or the things of the world, any happiness we find is only transitory. Because once a Coke is drunk, it’s gone. The pleasure is as fleeting as our breath.

     But in John 15:8-11 (NRSV) Jesus tells us where true joy and happiness are found. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.

     “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.”

     We find true joy, true happiness and completeness in Christ.

     It’s not what we drink, it’s not what we drive, it’s not what we wear or eat or which phone we use that bring happiness, breaks down walls and builds unity. It’s Jesus. And each day the Holy Spirit reminds us that so we Won’t Get Fooled Again.


     A. And that brings us to the last point,  SEE ME, FEEL ME. The song actually continues “See me, feel me, touch me, heal me.” And that last part, “Heal me,” I think, is cry which every soul makes to God every day. I think spiritually, we know we are separated from God and that we need someone to Heal that brokenness in our lives. There were two commercials which offered a hopeful message or healing and reconciliation. The first was the Band-Aid Commercial. Watch:

     There are deep cuts in life. We all have deep wounds, to the heart and to the spirit, which need to be healed. Some of those wounds are self inflicted, some are wounds intentionally inflicted by others and some are wounds that come simply from living life and being a non-combatant casualty of someone else’s struggle.

     The good news is that Jesus has conquered the world. In his first letter, the Apostle Peter writes these words of encouragement:

     1 Peter 5:9-11 (NRSV) “[Be] steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering.

     And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.”

     B. Jesus reminds us that the best thing we can do is to offer forgiveness and see reconciliation. Jesus came not only to remind us but to empower us to be able to forgive and be reconciled by offering us forgiveness and reconciliation. And then the commercial which best exemplified what Jesus taught about forgiveness, healing and reconciliation was this one: WATCH:

     If you know the story behind that commercial and what a big deal it was. First it was a fight between Jay and Dave over the Tonight Show. For 18 years there was animosity between the two of them. A couple of years ago Dave and Oprah got crosswise. But they reconciled and starred in a Super Bowl Commercial. And playing upon that one, made this one. Which exemplifies that reconciliation is possible even in the hard places of life. Two passages of Scripture came to mind.

     The first is 2 Corinthians 5:19 (NRSV) In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.” The second is: Colossians 3:13 (NRSV) “Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”  

     God’s desire for us is forgiveness and reconciliation.


     I think the best commercial of all, the one with the most Christ like message is this one: WATCH:

     Friends like Jesus tear down fences and build bridges. And Paul reminds us that in the Kingdom of God, that’s both the paradigm and the norm. We may not have achieved the norm yet but it’s the norm, it’s still the paradigm. It was one of Paul’s most strongly held beliefs. He wrote about it to the Corinthians, the Romans and the Galatians.

     Galatians 3:28 (NRSV) “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”

     That’s what I think we can learn from this past week’s Super Bowl Commercials. They are each 3 million dollar spots trying to influence you in buying their product. They are designed to engage and encourage us to become dissatisfied with who we are and what we have so we will buy what they are selling.

     For some, I know this might seem like a leap of faith but in Matthew 10:13b Jesus said:

     Matthew 10:16 (NRSV) “See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

     You may have seen other things or nothing at all. But this is what I saw and how I responded to those commercials. I hope I got you thinking about how to look at what our culture is saying to us and how to respond so we remain faithful to Christ.

This is the Word of the Lord for this day.