A popular story in Fairfax’s Sydney Morning Herald this morning was ‘Winning on a prayer’.

“A pre-season pact to play together and pray together has brought a large group of the players closer together – reading Bible verses and praying as a group as they continue their impressive charge deep into the finals,” writes Michael Chammas.

“…[they] come from different Christian denominations but have united under the one banner to mix their faith with footy.”

“Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Suaia Matagi, Leilani Latu, Waqa Blake, Chris Grevsmuhl, James Fisher-Harris, Sitaleki Akauola and Josh Mansour come from different Christian denominations but have united under the one banner to mix their faith with footy.”

Just like the group of rugby League players in this Eternity video, there is no hint of praying to win.

“It’s just helping us stay grounded and humble, really focused on what’s ahead but giving thanks and glory to the father.”

Suaia Matagi, one of the leaders of the group, made this clear to the Herald. “We got a group of boys through our faith that have come together. When we’re down it’s all about supporting each other along this journey. It’s just helping us stay grounded and humble, really focused on what’s ahead but giving thanks and glory to the father. It’s brought us closer together and I think it’s helped us with our footy.”

In contrast to this story, sports columnist Peter Fitzsimmons sledged Titans player Jarryd Hayne after media outlets in Sydney and Brisbane revealed he was videoed with a former Titans player and alleged bikie.

Fitzsimons addressed Hayne, writing, “Or, you do know who this person is, what their record is, what they are accused of, and you STILL want to party hard with them? Where was Jesus, Jarryd? You, who are so quick to point to the Lord on your shoulder at all times, we couldn’t see him there that night? Is this really who He wants you to hang with?”

Eternity does not claim to know much about Rugby League, or whether after a big match it is a good idea to party, but when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw Jesus eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?”

Now comparing Fitzsimons to the religious teachers (Pharisees) of Jesus’ time might seem strange, but if the cap (or bandana) fits, Fitz…

Jesus confounds the expectations a lot of people have of him. And that’s another reason to check out the original stories about him.

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