There are places you expect to hear someone proclaim Jesus as the hope of the world, but a basic cable NBA pre-game show isn’t one of them.
Yet that’s exactly what happened on Thursday’s Inside the NBA on TNT which kicked off its broadcast giving each anchor a chance to reflect on the election and the state of the country. This led to a surprisingly honest, nuanced and moving discussion that culminated with longtime sportscaster Ernie Johnson.
Johnson said that while he wrote in a candidate for the first time in 42 years he hoped Donald Trump the President would be a more mature leader than Donald Trump the campaigner. He echoed his co-anchors sentiment that the country needs to give Trump a chance and see what he does. But then Johnson turned a surprising corner in the broadcast and explained that his ultimate hope doesn’t lie in a politician.
“I never know from one election to the next who is going to be in the Oval Office, but I always know who is on the throne,” Johnson said. “I’m a Christian and I follow this guy named Jesus—you may have heard of him. And the greatest commandment he gave me was to love others, and the scripture also tells us to pray for our leaders. And that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to pray for Donald Trump, and for all those people who feel like they are on the outside looking in.”
It’s a moving two minutes, a beautiful example of someone using the Gospel to be a “minister of reconciliation,” and reminds me that we as leaders in our churches have a beautiful opportunity ahead of us to bring the healing message of Jesus to a world in need of it.