Now retired, Jaco van der Westhuyzen was a famous South African rugby player who has played professionally for the Sharks (South Africa), Bulls (South Africa), Leicester Tigers (England), NEC Green Rockets (Japan), as well as for the Springboks (South Africa’s national rugby team). In the picture above he is celebrating with his Bulls team mates after winning the Super Rugby Championship. The Super Rugby competition is an international tournament featuring professional club sides from three of the big world rugby powers: Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand (as of 2016 it has included Japan and Argentina).
The reason behind the vest/shirt in the picture (with the words Jesus Is King), which Jaco had hidden beneath his Bulls shirt (until the moment of the team photo), is because he had a career ending injury while playing in the Currie Cup (South Africa’s professional rugby competition). This injury was quite severe and would have ruled him out from playing any more rugby (international or Super Rugby). But after Jaco visited TB Joshua, a pastor at The Synagogue Church of All Nations in Nigeria, he was fully healed after prayer (see the camera footage on YouTube).
According to Jaco, talking to the Observer, “I had just broken into the Springbok team when I ruptured my posterior cruciate ligament playing against Western Province one Sunday in August 2000. The doctor took X-rays and said I needed to have an operation that Wednesday. I was really down, because I desperately wanted to go on the end-of-year Bok tour.”
“I was skeptical at first and I wasn’t too sure about the miracles. I read about them in the Bible but I thought: ‘Can this be true?’ Still, I decided not to have the operation and to take a leap of faith instead.
Towards the end of the service about 300 of us gathered in what they call the ‘healing line’. The Prophet walked down the line, identifying illnesses. When he came to me, he said I should remove my leg brace. He looked at me and it was like he had x-ray vision, like he could see immediately what was wrong with my knee. Moving his hands around as if he was tugging a rope, he seemed to pull out all the dirt and other stuff that was in my knee. Then he said to me: ‘Stand up and run.’ The brace had been on for weeks and running should have been impossible. Well, I trusted my faith and started to run – and at full speed. There was no pain.”
It is for this reason that Jaco took such a bold step in displaying his Jesus is King shirt subsequent to winning the Super Rugby competition. Being from South Africa myself I do remember that his move did invite some discussion after the game, which was likely his intention.