During a 1995 NFL game, former running back Ricky Watters purposively dropped a pass thrown to him. Playing for the Philadelphia Eagles at the time, Watters was a safety valve on this play. If his quarterback felt pressure from the defense, the play design led Watters to the middle of the field, beyond the pass rush. However, as the play was enfolding, Watters saw that a defensive player primed to hit him hard. To avoid this massive collusion, Watters simply dropped the ball. Following the game, reporters gathered around Watters locker, wanting the know the reason for this incomplete pass. Frustrated by this unwanted attention, Ricky Watters responded, “For who; for what?”
One of the lawyers [an expert in the Mosaic Law] answered Him, “Teacher, by saying this, You insult us too!” 46 But He said, “Woe to you lawyers as well, because you weigh men down with burdens [man-made rules, unreasonable requirements] which are hard to bear, and you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers [to lighten the load], Luke 11:45-46.
Looking back on this event from 20 years ago, at least Ricky was honest. If Watters caught this pass, the play would have gained minimal yardage. Thus, Watters felt like it was unnecessary to sell himself out on this play. Getting injured on a play that didn’t amount to much didn’t make sense to a professional athlete trying to protect his body and his career. While “for who; for what” is a selfish statement, do you blame him for confessing what was truly on his heart? This comment is no different from first century Pharisees, self-righteous religious leaders who served as the media of their day, regularly pointing out the mistakes of others. To make matters worse, these Jewish leaders added man made rules to God’s laws. Corrupted by power given to them by their followers, Pharisees were like modern day politicians who set laws for their country, yet were exempt from that which they expect others to obey.
Woe to you lawyers, because you have taken away the key to knowledge (scriptural truth). You yourselves did not enter, and you held back those who were entering [by your flawed interpretation of God’s word and your man-made tradition],” Luke 11:52.
As people read the Bible for the first time, they might not say “for who; for what?” Yet, people will silently think, “what’s the point?” Others will ponder, “why should I believe in something written almost two thousand years ago?” This skepticism is natural in a world always challenging and questioning authority. Immediately following Peter’s public confession that Jesus is the promised Messiah, Jesus reveals an oxymoron about life. “If you want to save your life, you will lose it. However, if you are willing to give up your life, you will save it.” This head scratching statement from Mark 8:35-37 unveils the purpose for life on earth. The who is the creator of the heavens and the earth. The what is dedicating your life by making an eternal difference with the life that God has given you. When you surrender your aspirations by committing to serving Jesus Christ as Lord, the Holy Spirit enables you to see the big picture, eternity in heaven. This choice is not forced, but my prayer is that souls are rejuvenated by the message of this blog.
by Jay Mankus