I love tournaments. The competition, energy, tension. Win and play again or lose and go home.
The NCAA March Madness is a favorite time for many sports fans because of that.
The underdog taking on the favorite hoping for that one game where they take down the giant. The player who shoots the free throws to tie the game with no time on the clock or, better yet, the last second shot from deep beyond the 3-point line to win the whole thing.
In moments like that there is so much emotion: one team rejoices and one team feels empty. You see 18-22 year olds jumping around like kids who got some free candy or having faces of tears like someone took the candy.
It’s one thing to watch it but to be a player in it is a whole different ball game (no pun intended 😉 ).
Some times you hear players after the game talk about “If only I would have did this or not done that.”
I even hear players put the loss on their own shoulders saying they cost their team the game. Noble? Maybe. Hard on the heart? Definitely.
Think about the disciples. They thought they had suffered the worst loss ever when Jesus was crucified and died.
The One who called them from mundane life to experiences of healings, miracles, intense conflict with people who wanted to kill Him. The one they followed for three years of their lives seeing things they wouldn’t know how to put into words.
The One who said He loved them and the One they loved was gone in a sequence of events of brutality, fear, betrayal. It’s a cloud of hopelessness.
This feeling of defeat and blur of confusion was endured for three days.
This wasn’t a ball game. For these followers is what the very heartbeat of who they were thrown into tornado of havoc and spit out with no compassion.
Imagine what it would be like for a team who lost a heartbreaking game in the tournament to get a call to find out their loss had been reversed and they were now declared the winners!
How would that feel for those players that they were still in the tournament and still invited to compete and play in the next game?
Magnify that emotion by a million and then you might taste what the Mary, Martha, and the disciples felt when they found the tomb empty and Jesus reappeared to them.
What was happening in front of them was inconceivable: Jesus had come back to life in front of them. What was happening inside of them was even more inconceivable.
They were being told not to go home and curl up on the ground in defeat but instead all things had been reversed and they were still in the game!
We’ve been told the same thing.
That should cause anyone to jump, shout, dance, even shed tears but oh they are tears of joy!
Does it do that to you?
We just celebrated Easter Sunday, the most crucial day in the life of a Christian. It put us back in the game.
How do you live after that? How will you live this year?
The disciples lived the wake of the resurrection of Jesus like they never had before. They didn’t want to waste their second chance.
We’re still in the game through Jesus Christ. Not only that, the victory is already ours!
Don’t live like you wish you would have, should have, could have.
God is good.