Sermons

Summary: Life is not a game and the only true "comeback" happened 2000+ years ago.

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The Comeback Kid

The 49ers trailed 38-14 with 4 minutes left in the third quarter, but they scored 25 straight points on two TD passes and a scoring run.

The Bills scored a 41-38 victory over the Houston Oilers on Jan. 3, 1993, a game they had trailed 35-3 in the third quarter.

John Elway, former quarterback for the Denver Broncos was known as the “comeback kid” because of the many times he brought his team from seemingly insurmountable odds to victory.

Discus thrower Al Oerter (who won Olympic gold medals in 1956, 1960, 1964, and 1968) retired for awhile and then returned to the sport in 1976. In 1980 he was throwing farther than he had in 1968.

Paul Azinger, golf. The 1993 PGA champion missed the 1994 campaign with cancer in his right shoulder. He recovered after a missing a full year and resumed competing.

Jim Morris was a 35-year-old high school chemistry teacher in 1999. As a young man, he was a pitcher in the minors - but his dreams of Major League Baseball were ended by an injury that required major surgery.

Years later, coaching the school team in his hometown of Big Lake, Texas, Morris discovered by a fluke that he could still throw fast balls. So he makes a deal with his team: If they make it to the state finals, he’ll try out for the majors.

The squad delivers - and Morris goes to the Texas camp of the Tampa Devil Rays’. There, he amazes everyone, even himself, by throwing pitches at 98 mph. In a few months, he’s pitching in the big leagues.

Andres Galarraga’s return from cancer to the 2000 All-Star Game. Tampa Bay’s Nick Bierbrodt bouncing back from a gunshot wound and control lapses to make the Devil Rays’ rotation.

Jennifer Capriati was a French Open semifinalist at 14; a broken-hearted victim of broken dreams by 18. She was accused of shoplifting; underwent psychiatric treatment; a drug arrest and a substance-abuse program.

Then a new century, a new Capriati. She won the Australian Open in 2001. She followed up with a victory at the French Open in June of that year, and then another Australian triumph in 2002.

In the spring of 1996, Lance Armstrong began to experience pain and swelling in his groin and attributed it to his six- to eight-hour days of cycling training. He did not seek medical advice until more than five months later when he started to get headaches and cough up blood.

Cancer had produced a dozen golf ball-sized tumors in his lungs and lesions on his brain. Given only a 50 percent chance of survival, since 1999, Lance has won four consecutive Tours de France, making him the only American to accomplish this feat.

Lis Hartel of Denmark won a silver medal in dressage equestrian in the 1952 Games eight years after losing full use of her legs when she contracted polio during pregnancy.

Karoly Takacs of Hungary was one of the world’s greatest pistol shooters and an Olympic favorite in 1938 until his right hand was blown off in a hand-grenade accident as he prepared to fight in World War II. The Olympics were canceled in 1940 and ’44 due to the war, allowing him to learn to shoot left-handed. That’s how he won Olympic gold in 1948.

When Ernie Irvan crashed his car during a NASCAR race at Michigan Speedway in August 1994, he was given a 10 percent chance of surviving. The odds were against him ever recovering from critical brain and lung injuries.

But less than one year later, in October 1995, Irvan not only entered a NASCAR race but finished a remarkable sixth. If Irvan did nothing more than finish out of the money as a NASCAR driver, his comeback would’ve been nothing short of miraculous. But he did much more than merely compete. He won two races in 1996.

All of these stories involve comebacks. Coming back and winning when they weren’t supposed to. Coming back against overwhelming odds to become champions.

That’s what happened on the first Easter morning. Jesus was dead. He’d been crucified, he had died, and he’d been put into a tomb a couple of days before. His family, friends, and disciples were overwhelmed with grief. The game was over. There was no time left on the clock. The other team, the Pharisees, the bad guys, had won. Game, set, match.

The disciple’s hearts were broken; they were in a state of shock; they felt like they’d been kicked in the chest. And on top of that, some of them were afraid. Their star player, their team leader had been crushed and eliminated from the game. They were in hiding, afraid that if they came out they’d get the same treatment. So they cowered in their homes, not knowing what to do.

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