I’m a soccer fan. I religiously follow the Israeli National League, the English Premiere League and La Liga in Spain. What I’ve noticed is that every time a goal is scored – especially in major tournaments – the world’s best soccer players, including Ronaldo, Messi, Kaka et all, thank Jesus. Some just point to heaven, others cross themselves and kiss the ground. It seems that from their point of view, Jesus is a soccer fan and takes a personal interest in the outcomes of all matches, especially cup finals.
My Christian friends assure me that there’s going to be a “Second Coming” i.e., that Jesus is coming back. Which got me to thinking; if Jesus were to come back and if he’s truly interested in soccer, which team would he support?
At first blush, it would have to be Israel’s national team. After all, Brazil and Argentina were not even discovered when Jesus walked upon the earth, and Manchester became a lowly Roman military outpost some 50 years after the crucifixion. Christian tradition tells us that Jesus never ventured far from the Holy Land, so naturally he would support the Israeli national team. But given that the “Blue and White” don’t do very well and have been eliminated from the World Cup Qualifiers, who would he support today? Well, as everyone knows, he was a Galilean i.e., he was from Northern Israel. And today there’s only one team from Northern Israel worth cheering for – the Cinderella team from the north – Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona F.C.
Wednesday, May 7th, I was with my son, Adin, in Ramat Gan Stadium for the Israel State Cup Final between Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona and Maccabi Netanya. At the game, it dawned on me: had Jesus returned, he would’ve been with us in the stands, cheering Hapoel to victory. And win they did! Not surprisingly, as they were getting tired, there was suddenly an unseasonal lightning storm and a temporary downpour to refresh them. At which point, Ahmed Abbad scored in overtime. The crowd shouted in unison: “A miracle!”
So, with all due respect to the devotions of the top players in the world, if Jesus is really a soccer fan, and if he’s really coming back, he won’t be focusing on the careers of Ronaldo, Messi and Kaka. He’ll be cheering Kiryat Shmona’s David Manga, Ahmed Abbad and captain Shir Tzedek.
So watch out. Our champions are going to Europe now. All you big stars, be warned. When you face Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona – you face Jesus’ team.
See my latest blog, “Jesus Wife” Papyrus Under Attack: Again”!