April 16, 2019
The Masters 2019 is already legendary, and it just happened. After an 11-year drought, which most people thought was the death of his career, Tiger Woods came back to the Masters on April 14, 2019. Twenty-two years ago, at the age of 21 and less than a year after he turned pro, Woods became the youngest Masters champion, winning the 1997 tournament by a staggering 12 strokes. He won his second Masters at 25, his third at 26, and his fourth at 29.
He had some very public personal issues during his long drought, as well as devastating physical issues. No one ever thought, including Woods himself, that this kind of new life in his career was even possible. Some people have called it a surprising “resurrection.”
Much of the world is focused on the original “Resurrection” this week. It’s far more spectacular and incredible than any of the events we ever compare it to. I’ve been reflecting on that amazing day. Think with me: We are called to walk by faith and not by sight. Because of that, people tend to believe that the Christian faith is basically faith in faith. Not true. Our faith is based on something that truly happened. This weekend we celebrate this foundation of our faith: Jesus lived, died, and rose again. Everything rises and falls on this one truth.
Paul writes, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day . . .” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). It’s what is MOST important. Why?
Paul goes on to explain, “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith (1 Corinthians 15:13-14).
Without the resurrection of Jesus as the foundation of our faith, Paul says his preaching is worthless. We gain nothing from it, so our faith is worthless too. We might as well eat, drink, and be merry, like the hopeless partiers of the world, because tomorrow we will die.
But the Paul doesn’t leave it there. That’s how it would be if our faith was based on a legend or a fairytale or a few deluded people’s wishes. But that’s not the genesis of our faith. Paul assures us that Christ DID rise from the dead, and he is a witness. He’s not just “hopin’ and wishin’ and workin’ and prayin,’” he knows for sure that this is a fact. Jesus was dead, He was buried, but He rose again!
Because that is true, Paul says it changes the way we approach life. We have confidence to stay the course and live effective, difference-making lives as well. “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Because of this fact (the One we serve and follow has the power of life, and not even death can hold Him down), let NOTHING move you. Let nothing shake you up or cause you to back down. Give yourself to the work of the Lord. There is much more to this life than living and dying. Jesus overcomes it all. Through Him, we do too.