It is a well-known fact around the world that the home team wins more than the visiting team. Sports Illustrated, once concluded that this is indeed true. Home field advantage exists no matter the sport or level at which the game is played.
That may not surprise you. Many people think it is because of the many fans of the home team packed into the stadium; it’s not. Fans did not change a team’s performance. So, what do you think it was? Well, according to Sports Illustrated, it’s the referees. The fact of the matter is referees don’t like it when they are booed. According to the article, “When the game gets close, they call fewer fouls or penalties against the home team or call for more strikes against visiting batters. Larger and louder fans do influence the calls from the officials. The referees naturally (and often unintentionally) respond to the pressure from the crowd. Then they try to please the angry fans and make the calls that will lessen the pain of crowd disapproval. In the end, the referees’ people-pleasing response can impact the result of the game”. This is why many sports have “instant replay.” It is used when someone believes the referee may have got his call wrong or that his call was accurate. Officials from a replay booth look at the play without the emotions of the fans in their ear. They have an advantage because they can look at the play from every angle and see it in slow motion many times.
Is this Homefield advantage real with our great Judge and referee Jesus? The simple answer is NO. Jesus is always fair and accurate when He judges both our actions and the actions of others. He wants us to leave our comfort (home field) and go where we are the visitors. We Christians are often called to go to places where Jesus is not popular. We are often called to go where He is hated. Many Christian Missionaries have been imprisoned and sometimes killed for preaching the Gospel. These places are where the love of Christ is needed the most. God’s calling and sending Christians to near and far away places where they will face imprisonment or danger was true in the New Testament days and is true today.
Let us look at one of these examples we have in the Bible, the Apostle Paul.
Philippians 1:12-14, Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the Gospel, 13 so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, 14 and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.
Do you notice where Paul is while writing this letter? Yes, he is in prison. He was put in prison by the Romans because the Jews were mad at him for preaching the Gospel in Jerusalem. That hated Paul and were trying to stop him from proclaiming Jesus as our Savior and Lord. He eventually winds up in prison in Rome, where he writes this letter to the church in Philippi. He is on the enemy’s home field! But he knows that if he has Jesus and is on His Team, he can turn the tables and take the home field advantage away!
Paul knew that his friends were united with him in the great work of advancing the cause of Christ in the world. So, he could greet the prospect of death with great joy. Even from his imprisonment in Rome, he rejoices with them and asks to rejoice with him. Paul here uses the enemy’s home turf to express his joy under the adverse conditions because he expects his fellow-suffers at Philippi and us to meet our tests with the same Spirit of hope and gladness.
You see, if we have Jesus as our team leader, we can turn anywhere we are into our home field advantage! Wow! It is great to be on Jesus’ team! Let’s be like Paul and “have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear” wherever we find ourselves in our daily walk with the Lord.
Are you on Jesus’ team?
Go to Romans Road to Salvation and/or Prayer of Rededication