Seth Udinski, FISM News
In a profound story that combines sports and religion, many members of the Auburn University men’s basketball team were baptized in the Jordan River during a trip to the Holy Land several weeks ago.
— Auburn Basketball (@AuburnMBB) August 5, 2022
Following in the physical footsteps of Jesus Christ, several players entered the Jordan River to be baptized.
The act of baptism is a practice that through Scripture God has called believers to in obedience to Him. The Bible teaches that the act is an external expression of the inward reality of salvation (Romans 6:3-4) and is not a requirement or cause of salvation (Acts 2:38).
The trip was the idea of Auburn head coach, Bruce Pearl, who wanted to connect his players to their “Judeo-Christian roots.”
Coach Pearl told The Jerusalem Post before the trip, “My players are going to see their Judeo-Christian roots, and for those who want to get baptized in the river Jordan, they will.”
Additionally, the players visited various biblical sites during their trip, including the Garden of Gethsemane, the Western Wall, the city of Bethlehem, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is believed by many to be the exact spot of Jesus’ burial and resurrection.
“They’ll walk in the garden where Jesus walked, and they’ll pray at the Western Wall,” Pearl continued, “And they’ll experience firsthand God’s presence in the Holy Land. Just come and see it, you’ll be changed forever.”
Though it is unknown if Coach Pearl confesses Jesus Christ as his Messiah, he is a devout Jew and has spoken often of his pride in his Jewish heritage.
He said in his interview with the Jerusalem Post, “I’m very proud of my Jewish identity, and not afraid to put that pride on full display even though there are many times where – because of antisemitism – it wouldn’t benefit me personally or professionally.”
The baptism and tour were part of a ten-day journey to Israel where the Tigers played multiple exhibition contests in preparation for the 2022-2023 season.
Expectations are high for the Tigers this season. The team is coming off an SEC championship and a high rank in the NCAA March Madness tournament last year, and they will undoubtedly be looking to avenge an early exit in the round of 32.