Devotional: What do baseball and Easter have in common?
Written by Lt. Grant Holloway, Salvation Army administrator/pastor in Brainerd, Minn.
If you keep up with sports, you know that the Major League Baseball season has officially started. I’ve enjoyed baseball ever since I was a little boy playing t-ball, even though I was quite awful at it. To me, nothing beats going to a baseball game, smelling the hot dogs and pretzels, hearing the crack of the ball hitting the bat, and cheering for my favorite team.
Victory on the Diamond
Now, I’m not trying to start a riot, but I grew up a Chicago Cubs Fan. In fact, one of the added joys of attending The Salvation Army’s College for Officer Training in Chicago was that we lived a few blocks away from Wrigley Field.
Last November, during the final game of the World Series Championship, things were getting exciting. My wife, dog and I gathered around the television to watch Game 7. The final inning started past 11 o’clock due to a rain delay. The Cubs had given up a huge lead over the Cleveland Indians, but battled back to score two. Just three outs in the bottom of the 10th would mean victory. With two outs on the scoreboard, I remember watching strike one, then strike two, and then I saw a grounder to third base. I cheered as Kris Bryant caught the ball near third base, threw it to first base, and secured the final out.
With that, a 108-year drought was lifted and Cubs fans enjoyed a very special moment after waiting a very long time. I was amazed at reports from around the country of people over 100 years old who had waited their entire life for that moment, and it did not disappoint.
The story of Jesus Christ is also about a long-awaited and long-fought victory. The Jewish people had been promised a Savior. They had been waiting many years for that prophesy to be fulfilled when Jesus came to Earth. During Jesus’ life, he faced trials and temptations, performed miracles, and raised others from the dead. Ultimately for him to fulfill his role as Savior, though, he had to be crucified and die to pay for the sins of all people. But the story didn’t end there.
Just when it seemed like the game was over, he battled back. He rose from the dead on the morning we now celebrate as Easter. He was alive, and his sacrificial death had defeated sin in the world. Christ won. (Read the full Easter story in John 17-20. Other accounts are found in Matthew 26-28, Mark 15-16 and Luke 22-24.)
Victory in Our Lives
Jesus said in the Gospel of John 10:10 (NIV), “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
The great adversary, Satan, tried to kill and destroy. But, when Christ conquered death, he provided a way for all to have life and the opportunity to enjoy it to the fullest.
There’s a great song that says, “Because He (Jesus) lives I can face tomorrow. Because He lives all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future. And, life is worth the living just because He lives.”
I find assurance in these words. As I face trials, temptations, fears, and even doubts, everything can be put to rest, because Christ fought the battle for me and won. My hope and confidence in life is settled because Christ won. I don’t need to worry or fear; I can find comfort facing each day because Christ won. Because Christ won, I can enjoy each and every day that God gives me.
And, just like the people who waited decades for the Cubs to win a World Series, I know that when I head to heaven, it will not disappoint. That’s the power of Easter morning.
You’re invited to celebrate Easter with us this year.