How a Dream about Jesus Changed Seattle QB Russell Wilson

Jim Denison

The Seattle Seahawks will play the Denver Broncos in this Sunday's Super Bowl. In a recent interview with Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll, four Seahawks players and an assistant coach discussed their faith. The coach stated that "Jesus is better than anything... even better than the Super Bowl, better than an NFL career, any of that." Quarterback Russell Wilson was one of the players nodding in agreement.

There was a time when he wouldn't have been so affirming. In a video titled "The Making of a Champion," Wilson says, "I was kind of a bad kid," explaining that "I used to beat up kids and bite kids and do stuff all the time."
What changed? "I had a dream that my dad passed away. And that Jesus came into the room. He was knocking on my door, saying, 'You need to find out more about me,'" Wilson said. "So that Sunday morning I ended up going to church and that's when I got saved."

Did his salvation guarantee a life of success? Not at all. Wilson was part of a very athletic family—his father played professional football, his brother played in college, and his sister is one of the top high school basketball prospects in the country. However, six years after his conversion, his father died at the age of 55 due to complications from diabetes. Wilson grew to be only five-feet-eleven-inches in height, a fact that made him an unlikely professional prospect.

He was eventually drafted in the third round by the Seattle Seahawks. Five quarterbacks and 69 other players were taken ahead of him. Surprising everyone, he beat out veteran competition and became the starter as a rookie. He led his team to the playoffs and played in the Pro Bowl. This year his team went 13-3 and will play in the Super Bowl.

While some athletes get in trouble for comments on Twitter, Wilson posts daily Bible verses on his Twitter feed. During the NFL season, he visits the Seattle Children's Hospital weekly and has visited with soldiers at the local military base. He is National Ambassador of the Charles Ray III Diabetes Association. His explanation: "I realized that God had given me so many talents, and I wanted to give him all the glory."

Tomorrow we'll discuss the faith of Peyton Manning, the quarterback opposing the Seahawks in Sunday's game. For today, let's consider the stewardship of influence God entrusted to Wilson. His fame is causing viewers around the world to watch "The Making of a Champion," which closes with a prayer of salvation led by Seahawks long snapper Clint Gresham. Every person who comes to Christ through this video will be an extension of Wilson's ministry.

You may not have met Jesus in a dream, but your salvation is no less miraculous and your influence no less eternal than Russell Wilson's. He has learned that "no one can stop what God has for you."

Do you agree?

Publication date: January 27, 2014