His reputation preceded him, and it wasn’t good. For years, he did his own thing, often to the detriment of the team and those around him. He was selfish and everyone knew it.

His reputation preceded him, and it wasn’t good, either. He wasn’t selfish, but he just couldn’t seem to stay out of his own way. Anger, addiction, bad decisions…these littered his life with regret.

His reputation preceded him, too, and it wasn’t good. A can’t-miss prospect early in his career, he had been derailed by injuries and poor performance. He was discouraged and close to quitting the game.

As the season began, these three guys were among many others just like them on the team. The coach had his work cut out for him.

Amazingly, over the course of the season, this wise coach found ways for these guys to not only coexist, but to work in tandem with one another, to fulfill roles they never imagine, on their way to success that seemed beyond them.

All because the coach knew what he was doing. All because the coach didn’t hold their pasts against them.

There are some truly rotten characters in the genealogy of Jesus written in Matthew 1–people who did some terrible things. Jacob deceived his father and stole from his brother. Judah had an affair with his daughter-in-law. Rahab was a prostitute. David committed adultery and arranged a murder to cover it up. The list goes on.

Yet, somehow, these are the people listed in the family line of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Think about that again.

Everyone has a past. Everyone has a reputation. Everyone has things they’d like to take back and decisions they’d like to change.

Thankfully, the coach knows what he’s doing. Our Heavenly Father takes our pasts, forgives them on the Cross of Christ, and overcomes it all through his wisdom and faithfulness in our lives.

No matter what you’ve done or who you’ve been, there is new life available in Jesus Christ.

Lord Jesus, you know it all. My reputation as a sinner precedes me. Thank you for your forgiveness and cleansing. Make me new. Amen.