In the first of The Resurgence leadership message series, Mark Driscoll interviewed Russell Wilson and four of his teammates from the Super Bowl-bound Seattle Seahawks - "Members of the greatest football team on the earth," the pastor jested.
In a day when "Men tend not to go to church, [and] men tend not to be interested in Jesus," Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle is thankful to have the chance to speak with male athletes who love Jesus Christ. "I'm really encouraged by their love for Jesus and their willingness to take the opportunity that God has given them to share their faith openly, publicly, and globally," he says. Driscoll asked Russell Wilson and his teammates to share a bit of their testimonies and about how knowing Jesus Christ has impacted their life and their work in the National Football League (NFL).
The Seahawks quarterback says he met Jesus when he was about 14 years old. "I used to be a bad kid ... I used to beat up people," Wilson says. He was raised in a home with strong believing parents, and went to church regularly growing up.
Wilson stands only 5'11" tall, and many said that he would not be successful as a quarterback in the NFL; he was actually expected to do very well as a second-baseman playing professional baseball, but he was determined to play football instead. He has since seen God's hand in his life, leading him to places that many never would have dreamed he could go. "I try to live humbly ... without Him, I wouldn't be where I am today," says Wilson - "God has put me on that field for a reason, in front of 80,000 people."
The NFL player says he's amazed that God is so gracious and forgiving toward sinners. "I'm a constant work in progress - we all are," says Wilson - "That's the amazing thing about Jesus - He takes you for who you are." Though we may still sin every single day, Jesus Christ - the Son of God - came to earth to die on the cross so that we may be forgiven through faith in Him. The believer can live without shame, guilt, or fear of God's wrath while fully acknowledging and mourning over their own sin. The price for our forgiveness has already been paid - "For our sake He made Him to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God" (English Standard Version, 2 Corinthians 5:21). God's answer to the sinner's plea is "Yes," in Christ.
When asked how he would want to encourage the youth that look up to him, Wilson says he hopes they will "live with an open heart, try to learn as much as they can about the Lord, [and] try to get inside their Bible." The NFL quarterback says with humility that the person that he looks up to is Jesus Christ.
Driscoll says residents of Seattle seem to have a good opinion of Wilson - "Here's a man who works hard, he cares deeply, he produces results," he says of the general consensus. Driscoll encouraged Wilson to continue to exalt the Lord in his football career - "There is a humility that comes from your disposition that I think honors Jesus," he says.