C’mon. Admit it. You couldn’t help but smile after last night’s Super Bowl. I did. In fact, as the game ended, I found myself pumping my fists and joining in with the Giants as they celebrated their unexpected victory. I was caught up in the excitement and it felt good.
Later, as I made my way up to bed, still grinning from ear to ear, I took stock of myself and asked, “What is that? Why did I enjoy that so much?”
Right away I knew it had something to do with the Giants being the underdog. I love the underdog. And I seem to be moved inside whenever I witness the underdog defeat the bigger (and seemingly better) opponent. I guess that’s why I love watching movies like Rudy and Hoosiers. And I guess that’s why I love March Madness. There’s something exhilirating about rooting for the underdog.
But why? Why do I love the underdog? Or why do WE love the underdog? Why do we love rooting for the little guy? I think it’s because we see ourselves in the story of these cinderella teams. We identify with the “Davids” (in this case Giants!) because we are weak in and of ourselves. Not many of us are naturally gifted to do great things. But all of us want to be a part of doing something great.
Ironically, this is God’s pattern for showing His greatness. “He chooses the foolish things in the world to shame the wise; he chooses what is weak in the world to shame the strong; what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are” (1 Cor. 1:26-28). God takes delight in choosing the weak things of the world to show His strength. He loves choosing the small things to show forth his greatness and power.
We see this in Scripture, don’t we? God chose little Israel. God chose little Moses. God chose little Gideon. And God chose little David. We could go on and on to show how God chose the “underdogs” to carry out his plan. But why did God choose them? Answer: “so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1 Cor. 1:29). To say it positively, God did it so that we would be humbled. That we would know that His glory is seen most powerfully in humility.
The greatest picture of glory seen in humility is Jesus. Jesus was the ultimate underdog. He came as a tiny baby from the little town of Bethlehem. He worked in obscurity as a humble carpenter. He grew to be a poor man despised by the world and betrayed by his friends. And he died a humble death on a cross. But there was victory. Victory and glory seen through humility.
I love the line from one song that says, “Who would’ve thought that a lamb could rescue the souls of men?” That lamb is our Victor. That’s our Champion. The lamb who was slain. The Savior who came out of nowhere to defeat the greatest opponent ever-sin and death. And we will spend eternity in awe of this humble, crucified King.
So, why do we love the underdog? Because we follow the One who lived humbly, suffered greatly, and died horribly, but now reigns in victory.