Currently, my favorite show on Netflix is the story of the 2008 U.S. Olympic basketball team, called The Redeem Team.
I know there is a constant debate on what era has the best sports, but I can honestly say that the NBA in the ’90s was the best basketball era, and the greatest team ever assembled was the 1992 dream team. The team was loaded with guys like Jordan, Barkley, Johnson, Bird, Olajuwon, and the list goes on.
No team could beat them then, and no team assembled now could take them on. They were the greatest team ever. They dominated the world in basketball, so it came as no surprise when they won the gold medal in the Olympics by a wide margin. They were unbelievably good.
As a young American boy, I was proud to play basketball in the country with the greatest team ever assembled. USA basketball ruled the courts for years, and everyone assumed they would always dominate.
In 2004, the U.S. Basketball team entered the Olympics favored to win like the teams that had gone before them. They had a swagger and a résumé that preceded them in competition. They were picked to win gold, but they didn’t. In 2004 the United States Basketball Team went home with a bronze medal.
America was no longer the greatest country in the sport of basketball. The title was held by someone else. The United States had been stripped of their title as the best. They needed redemption.
So in 2008, the United States created the “Redeem Team”. This was going to be the team that redeemed the reputation of USA basketball and make things right.
Redemption has this idea of making things right, putting things the way they are supposed to be.
This is why I love the verse in Ephesians 1:7:
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
In Him we have redemption. Jesus came to make things right. Jesus came to put things back together, the way they were supposed to be.
You see, in the Garden of Eden, pre-fall, Adam and Eve lived in harmony with God. There was no sin, and therefore there was no separation. This was God’s intention from the beginning. All was right in the world.
Then sin entered the world, and separation followed. God and man were no longer connected to one another. Like the 2008 Olympic team, things needed to be made right.
Enter into the story Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Sent to earth with one central mission to redeem humanity to God. To make things right in the world. Today, you and I have access to God the Father because of Jesus Christ’s redemption. At the cross, all things were made right again.