He Is Risen

“And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.”

Matthew 28:7

When I was a sophomore in high school, our soccer team was stacked and we ripped through everyone that season. We lost only one game all year, and we typically won by more than a two-goal margin. Nevertheless, I missed out on what was destined to be a championship year. I had been suspended due to academic reasons during the soccer playoffs and championships. The loss in the championship game left a sour taste in the seniors’ mouths, and there were several reasons as to why we did not win it all. I did not help that I was suspended, and although we made it to championship, we fell short of winning it all. Our team was not as good the next year, but I was determined to stay eligible even though I was not even sure our team would make the playoffs as a lot of our good players had graduated and moved on.

Our first couple of practices were not a good sign for the upcoming season, and I felt like we were sure to miss the playoffs. We lost our first couple of games and my preseason prediction was looking to be spot on. We were disorganized in practice, and we had some on the team who did not seem to care either way if we won or lost. This lackadaisical attitude did not set well with me and I became vocal with those who were not willing to give 100%. We started to improve throughout the year and the pivotal point came when we were losing to a team that we had never lost to. We were down 2-1 at the half, and the leaders of the team came together and we had a stern talk with the other members of the team. Our coach let us make some changes to the lineup and positions and a fire was lit into the team.

We came out like gang busters and scored a goal to tie the game, and then with a minute left, we scored another goal to win the game. The momentum from that win carried us, and we won the remainder of our games to squeak into the playoffs. People had given up on us making the playoffs and there was no one who gave us a chance to make any noise in them. We had momentum, but every team in the playoffs had beat us in the regular season, and some by a four-goal margin. We came alive in the playoffs and played the best we had all season. The team that was dead in the water began to make some noise, and we made it all the way to the championship game.

The team we were playing had beat us all year, and we were never even competitive in any game we played against them. The opposing team laughed at us in the pre-game, and my blood began to boil within me. Our team got fired up after seeing this display and our goofy goalie suddenly became a brick wall. We played the best we had ever played, and every player seemed to have the game of their life. We scored midway through the game and our defense held strong to the final horn. The team that was not expected to do anything won the state championship. We jumped for joy when the final seconds ticked off, and we had smiles on our faces that lit up the field. The team that was written off became a state champion.

I do not take lightly what was done on the cross, and I am sure the disciples who walked with Jesus revered Him as they got to see all that He did and hear the words He spoke. Although He had foretold of His death and resurrection, I am not sure they totally believed that He would face death on a cruel cross. The Savior of the world was crucified before them, and the hope they had in the Messiah took a big hit. It seemed that they had forgotten about what He had told them as they mourned without hope. The powerful truth of the gospel is that He did not stay in that tomb. Defeat looked imminent that day, but Jesus defeated death and claimed the victory that was foretold thousands of years before. We celebrate this victory once a year, but it should be a victory we should celebrate daily.

Are you able to celebrate that Jesus is risen? Does Easter mean more to you than a commercial-made holiday or do you stop to think why we celebrate such a day? Are you living in the victory that God has given you? Are you thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ which is the path of salvation for all mankind? May we boldly proclaim, “He is risen, He is risen indeed!” To God be the glory!

Stay in the Fight!

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