The Greatest Comeback
There have been a lot of great “comeback” stories in American sports history. The Golden State Warriors were down 3-1 against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2016 Western Conference Championship, before coming back to win the series. Then in the next round, the NBA Championship, the Warriors were up 3-1 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Cavs came back to win. Who would have known that the city of Cleveland would be on the other end of that equation just a few months later? The Chicago Cubs were down 3-1 against the Indians in the World Series, before coming back to win the title.
Perhaps the most epic sports comeback in recent memory took place in Super Bowl 51. The New England Patriots were down to the Atlanta Falcons by 25 points in the second half and ended up winning in overtime. It was the largest deficit overcome in Super Bowl history.
Here is one for you Kentucky fans. Back in 1994, the Wildcats came back from a 31-point deficit in the second half at LSU. They were down by 31 with 15:31 left in the game and ended up winning 99-95. USA Today named that game the greatest comeback in sports history.
My favorite sports comeback story involves the team I love more than any other, the Buffalo Bills. They were down 35-3 to the Houston Oilers in the 1992 NFL playoffs, and ended up winning 41-38. To this day, that game is referred to as “The Comeback.”
The greatest “comeback” story of all time, however, was not in the realm of sports. It was in the realm of religion. Jesus Christ appeared to be defeated. He had been scourged, spiked, and speared. His opponents had slapped Him around, beat Him to a pulp, and killed Him on a cross. Then His battered body was sealed shut in a tomb. The eerie silence of Saturday seemed to say it all. And then it happened. Just when it appeared that all was lost, the gates of Hades swung open and the Lord’s cold corpse began to move. He stood up and stepped out alive! He “came back” from the dead, having conquered the grave and defeated the devil. You want a comeback story? It doesn’t get any better than that.
The Lord’s "comeback" story was the hallmark of preaching throughout the book of Acts (and beyond). That’s because the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation of our faith. It is what everything else revolves around and hinges upon. Paul put it like this:
“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:17-19).
Paul says that without the resurrection, we’re in really bad shape. Our faith is futile, our sins are many, and our deceased brethren are lost. In other words, if He did not get up, we should give up! But thanks be to God, He did get up. And, therefore, we have hope.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).