The winter of 1986-87 was my Sophomore year at Faulkner University. (Was that really 30 years ago?) Since I had yet to pledge a social club, I was playing intramural basketball on an independent team. I don’t recall if we won or lost the game that day. I do recall it was the last game of the day and a few of us stayed in the gym. I was barely 20 years old, so even after a game, I still had energy;. in fact I felt loose. A few guys were on the north end of the gym trying to dunk. I watched as a teammate, no taller than me, dunked a ball. I had played high school ball, but had never been able to dunk. “If he can, I can.” I thought to myself.
If he can, I can.
I joined the group. I took a turn and jammed the ball on the top of the rim. My hand was on top of the ball, but I missed judged and the ball flew off the rim. I tried again with similar results. On my third attempt, I DUNKED a basketball! I knew I could because my teammate did it first.
Let’s go back a few years earlier. I was in late elementary school / early junior high and BMX bicycles were the thing to have. All my friends were learning to do all sorts of bicycle tricks like “bunny hops or Superman,” and thinking we were Evel Kenivel as we jumped over various object off of homemade ramps. If they could do it, so could I. I did and I have the scars to prove it.
If they could, I could.
Going back even farther, there was another person. A man who faced extraordinary odds. Every step he made and every word he said was met with scrutiny by those in power. They waited for him to make a false step to say the wrong thing. Finally, they spun is words and actions against him and falsely accused him. If he could face ridicule and opposition, I can too.
If he could face ridicule and opposition, I can too.
The charges were such that the penalty was death. This young adult barely in his thirties faced execution for crimes he did not commit. There was no appeal, there was no reprieve. He had earlier begged God that the punishment be removed. But that was not possible. The authorities lead him away to his death.
Die, he did. He died a very excruciating death in every sense of the word excruciating. This Hebrew rabbi, named Yeshua (Joshua or Jesus), was hung on a Roman cross until he died. That evening before sunset friends buried him in borrowed space. The Romans sealed the tomb and placed guards to ensure no one stole the body.
You know the rest of the story. You know that on the third day, the tomb was empty. He had risen from the dead. He would appear to over 500 disciples over the next 40 days. No body has ever been found. He rose to never die again. He rose for eternal life. That’s when I knew I could. Because He did, I know that because I am in Him, I too will rise from death to be eternally with Him.
Since God raised Him from the dead, I know I too will rise!
3 thoughts on “When I Knew”
I felt that same elation the first time I dunked a basketball. It was even better when it happened on a defender in a real game.
Thank goodness we have the example of Jesus to follow when facing the difficulties of this world.
Not only is that story about my first dunk, it is also my only dunk 😦
Scott – thank you for reminding us of the real purpose of Jesus’ ministry, to demonstrate that we can have as close a relationship with our Father in heaven as He did (and provide the way in which we can do so); Romans 8:35, 39; Hebrews 4:16 & 10:19. Jesus did, so can I – through Him (John 14:6).