Bob Stiles

Earlier in the week I came across this newspaper story about an amazing basketball shot that helped win a Minnesota high school championship game! The story from the Minnesota Star Tribune went like this:

“It was an absurd shot. Taken out of desperation. With almost zero chance of going in. Yet Hoffarber swished it, lying on his back on the three-point line late Saturday night at Target Center with his legs and arms up, looking a lot like an upside-down turtle. The shot, taken just before the buzzer sounded to end the first overtime of the Minnesota Class 4A boys' basketball championship game, merely tied the score at 58. Yet it proved every bit as devastating as a game-winner..

The Royals, amazingly given a second chance at victory, outscored Eastview 13-2 in the second overtime to win 71-60. The reaction of longtime high school basketball followers to Hoffarber's incredible shot was universal disbelief.

"I still don't believe it," said Louie Mitteco, the former Totino-Grace boys' basketball coach who has attended the state tournament since the mid-1940s. "... It's a shot you will never see again." David Stead, the longtime executive director of the Minnesota State High School League, said he too had never seen a shot like that. "Do you believe in miracles? That's what happened on a basketball court [Saturday]," Stead said.”

Luke 24:1-12: “1But very early on Sunday morning the women came to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2They found that the stone covering the entrance had been rolled aside. 3So they went in, but they couldn't find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4They were puzzled, trying to think what could have happened to it. Suddenly, two men appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. 5The women were terrified and bowed low before them. Then the men asked, "Why are you looking in a tomb for someone who is alive? 6He isn't here! He has risen from the dead! Don't you remember what he told you back in Galilee, 7that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again the third day?" 8Then they remembered that he had said this. 9So they rushed back to tell his eleven disciples--and everyone else--what had happened. 10The women who went to the tomb were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and several others. They told the apostles what had happened, 11but the story sounded like nonsense, so they didn't believe it. 12However, Peter ran to the tomb to look. Stooping, he peered in and saw the empty linen wrappings; then he went home again, wondering what had happened.”

I’m sure those who were in attendance at that Minnesota basketball game will talk about that unbelievable shot for some time to come. I can imagine them trying to explain and describe the unbelievable shot they had witnessed to someone else. Unless you had been there and seen the shot for yourself, it was probably hard to believe. The next best thing would be to watch a “replay” of the shot on video. As I thought about this story, it got me thinking about Christ's resurrection. After reading today's scripture, does it make sense why some people have a hard time comprehending the resurrection of Jesus the first time they hear about it? Or at least until they see some evidence? Just like the disciples, many people have to go through various stages of belief: At first they may think it’s a fantasy, impossible to believe. Then, like Peter, they may check out the facts but still may be unsure about what happened. It’s only when they encounter Jesus in a personal way will they be able to accept the fact of the Resurrection. Then, as they commit themselves to Jesus and devote their lives to serving Him, they will begin to understand and experience His resurrection power and the reality of His presence with them.

Your life and words (if they are Christ-like) may be the evidence that someone else needs in order to believe that the miracle of the Resurrection has the power to change a person's life. Thank God for His power which raised Christ from the dead! Ask the Holy Spirit to prepare your heart and mind this Easter for experiencing the "unbelievable miracle" of Christ's resurrection in a fresh way in your life. Pray every day this week for God's Spirit to help you focus on the truth of Christ's death and resurrection. Pray for the opportunity to talk to a friend, who needs Jesus, about the "unbelievable miracle" of Easter. Ask God's Spirit to enable you to live like Jesus, so that someone else will see a "replay" of Christ's life-changing power.

Bob Stiles is the Worship Pastor at Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Grove City