I’ve been a Houston Astros fan my entire life... which is to say I’ve been miserable for 30 years. It all started before I was even born. My dad moved to Texas the day after graduating from high school in Tennessee and, not knowing a soul and lacking any better option, literally drive around Texarkana in his Datsun B210 listening to the Astros play-by-play on the radio. Thus, a family tradition of baseball futility was born.
Unlike the Cubs, who somehow managed to carve out a niche for themselves as the lovable losers, and the Indians, who at least had the foresight to turn their frustration into a decent movie franchise, the ‘Stros have just been plain bad. Sure we made it to the Dance in ‘05, when our 7 (count ‘em) 7 All-Stars couldn’t seal the deal against the White Sox. We’re just a woefully lackluster operation that routinely masks the absence of any actual celebration with marketing misdirection like changes to the uniform and the logo.
What my beloved Astros need is a hero – a savior. We need someone with the heart of Craig Biggio, the head of Tony La Russa, the talent of Babe Ruth, and the juice of Barry Bonds.
The simple truth, however, is this: that player doesn’t exist and even if he did exist, the Yankees would sign him for a bazillion dollars and steal him from us anyway.
Here’s the thing about saviors: It doesn’t really matter what they said or did if they aren’t around anymore. Case in point - you know what is completely unhelpful to the Astros' pitching staff? A 67-year-old Nolan Ryan. You know what else is unhelpful? Nolan Ryan in 1981. Seriously, neither one of those guys can help us win today.
This is why the resurrection is paramount for Christians. Jesus was great. He healed many people and taught wonderful things; but He also claimed to be God. That makes Him either right, crazy, or evil. Those are your options. Either 1) He was who He said He was and we should all worship and obey Him; 2) He was nuts and should be disregarded and forgotten; or 3) He’s wicked and was rightly put down. Any way you slice it – any conclusion you come to – it doesn’t matter if He’s dead. I mean, that no-hitter in 1981 was awesome, but it’s completely irrelevant against the Royals this week.
But if Jesus is alive, if He has conquered death, then that is a game changer. That proves he was and is supernatural. He has more authority than death. That is really, really good news for my soul. Because there is a natural bent in me that always leads me toward evil. There is a natural inclination in our culture that always pushes us towards selfishness and injustice. But if Jesus is supernatural then my soul can rest easy. He has battled larger demons than these... and He won.
He is risen. That changes everything.