The Super Bowl-winning coach of the Baltimore Ravens says he is drawn to the Christian faith because of the joy and peace it brings but also because of the historical evidence for Christ's resurrection.
John Harbaugh, who is entering his 16th season as head coach of the Ravens, told the Sports Spectrum Podcast that his passion for history has led him to study the historical foundation of Christianity.
"It basically comes down to the resurrection," Harbaugh said of the validity of Christianity. "... If the resurrection didn't take place, then Christianity – there's no point to it."
Harbaugh, though, said he believes the evidence for Christ's resurrection is strong. He has been listening to a sermon by Alistair Begg on the subject, he said.
"It's just fascinating to me, he said.
The apostles and their associates, he noted, were willing to die for their faith.
"Nobody at any point in time recanted when it happened – even to martyring themselves and being executed in the most gruesome ways," he said. "They all held firm to saying that this Man was crucified and rose from the dead, and they saw it. That is strong evidence to me. ... I don't think you can ignore that.
"You've got to look into it," he said. "You've got to study it."
Harbaugh led the Ravens to a Super Bowl title in 2013 (2012 season) and was voted the NFL Coach of the Year in 2019. Championships, though, are not the ultimate definition of success, he said.
"Before the beginning of time, He had a plan for us, and He created us in a way [that] He knows us intimately," Harbaugh said. "He knows what our true desires are, what our purpose is. So trying to find that purpose or connection with God and being connected and filled with the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit – that is success. That is the ultimate success."
The Baltimore coach said he has read through the Bible "numerous times." Each morning, he said, he tries to read a devotional, read the Bible and pray. Typically, it lasts half an hour, he said.
"I trust Providence, I trust God's will, His plan," he said. "And as much as anything, I try to put it in His hands, because when you look back, you can see where He has brought you. … When you look back, there's a certainty in the road that you've traveled and as I get older now I can really see that more clearly."
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Jason Miller/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.