By now, there is a good chance your NCAA tournament brackets have been busted. Who would have thought that Georgia St would knock off Baylor and UAB would beat Iowa St? Every year there seems to be a number of upsets that are seemingly impossible to predict. In fact, of 11.57 million brackets filled out on ESPN, only one perfect bracket remained after round one. And even that perfect bracket finally came crashing down when Arizona beat Ohio St in the second round of the tournament. The bottom line is that it is pretty much impossible to pick the entire tournament correctly. It almost seems as if the more confident you are about your bracket, then the more likely it will be that you pick a number of games incorrectly. You might be confident that Kentucky will make it to the Final Four or even the National Championship but how confident could you have been if you would have had two #14 seeds beating #3 seeds? But that is exactly what happened this year! The fact that every game has the potential for an upset makes the tournament so exciting to watch. However, confidence when making your bracket selections can completely be thrown out the window!
Unlike making our picks for the NCAA tournament, as Christians we can have complete confidence in our faith in Jesus. On April 5th we will be celebrating Easter Sunday and the resurrection of Jesus. The fact that Jesus rose from the dead is at the very center of the Christian faith. The whole basis of the Christian faith depends on a risen Christ. Thankfully, God has given us an overwhelming amount of evidence which points to the truthfulness of the resurrection. As Christians, we can be confident and encouraged that Jesus is risen indeed! The Apostle Paul reinforces the appearances of the risen Jesus in his letter to the church at Corinth:
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scripture, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)
In light of Easter Sunday soon approaching, I want to share my favorite piece of evidence for the resurrection that I hope and pray will help encourage you that we serve a risen Savior. That piece of evidence is the transformation in the lives of the disciples. The disciples were not the kind of men you would have expected to lead the early church. In fact, in the time leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus these men were almost nowhere to be found. For example, the disciples fled when Jesus was arrested (Mark 14:50). Also, Peter famously denied Jesus three times (Mark 14:66-72). Furthermore, of all the disciples, only John was at the crucifixion. These were not the type of men you would have expected to be willing to risk their lives for the Gospel. Yet, after the resurrection of Jesus that is exactly what these men did. The disciples went from men who were cowards to men who were willing to suffer hardship and persecution for the sake of the Gospel. The only thing that could explain this incredible transformation in their lives was the fact that they had indeed seen and witnessed the risen Lord!
So this Easter I want to encourage you that we serve a risen Savior who is worthy of all of our praise. The fact of Jesus’ resurrection gives us hope and confidence that our lives have meaning and purpose. You can be encouraged that we serve a God who in fact rose from the dead. And through His death and resurrection, He makes a way for us to have eternal life! And that’s way better news than anything that could come out of the NCAA tournament!