Because Jesus knew He needed to rely on God’s Word, He was willing to memorize it and use it as a defense against the Enemy. Having Scripture in His mind kept Him strong in the face of temptation and allowed Him to keep His relationship with God perfect (see Psalm 119:9-16). This was all a part of the preparation for executing the ultimate play. Jesus had to follow the playbook.
Throughout the course of Jesus’ ministry, the Gospels show Jesus quoting the Old Testament about 200 times from 24 different books.
Even though Jesus remained faithful to God and ultimately won the battle over the Enemy, it did not mean He would always feel like He was going to be victorious. Just before Jesus was to be betrayed by Judas (and then face the crucifixion on the cross), He was overwhelmed with emotion.
“Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and He told the disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’ Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, ‘My soul is swallowed up in sorrow—to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake with Me’. Going a little farther, He fell facedown and prayed, ‘My Father! If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will’” — Matthew 26:36-39.
In His moment of greatest need, Jesus prayed to God for help, and expressed His first and original attitude toward God’s will and Word that was reflected before He came into this world. When it was all said and done, Jesus’ attitude (the bottom line of His heart) never changed. He had to follow God’s playbook no matter how great the cost. “Not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42) was the battle cry from the very beginning to the very end.
Surely you have watched one of those sports shows that chronicle the all-time greatest plays in sports history. Think about the best play you have ever seen on the field. To what degree do you think those great plays on the field actually resemble the plays that were drawn up in the playbook? They were probably drawn up one way, but executed with some variance.
God’s ultimate play for saving mankind and for saving you was drawn up perfectly, executed perfectly, and fulfilled the perfect plan.
We know how Jesus approached the Scriptures, but what about you? How do you approach the Bible? Do you approach it with a Monday-morning quarterback, Lay-Z-Boy®, with-a-coozie-in-your-hand attitude? If so, you may always be second-guessing God. You could be uncertain about what God really wants for your life.
Then again, you may approach the Bible more like the passionate, face-painted, dedicated season ticket holder who would never miss a game if his life depended upon it.
Better still, you may love the playbook because you are on God’s team; you’re a team player doing the best you can to get it right. This is what God desires. If you study His Word, applying it as instructions for your life, you will be equipped to fulfill your purpose in life, helping others along the way.
One of the most successful coaches of all time, Joe Gibbs coached the Washington Redskins for 12 seasons, leading them to eight playoff appearances, four NFC Championship titles, and three Super Bowl titles. In 1996, Joe was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, with an overall winning percentage of .638 – second only to the legendary Vince Lombardi and John Madden. After retiring at the end of the 1992 season, Joe switched his focus to his NASCAR team, Joe Gibbs Racing, which has has won 5 NASCAR championships under his ownership and was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2020. Gibbs currently resides in Virginia with his wife Pat, but they make their permanent home in Charlotte, NC. They have two sons, J.D. Gibbs and Coy Gibbs and six grandchildren. He continues to lead Joe Gibbs Racing and Game Plan for Life.