When Sporting Heroes Disappoint

Watching the Cricket World Cup final this week reminded me how devastated I was when the All Blacks lost the rugby world cup final in 1995 by a drop kick in extra time by Joel Stransky. The All Blacks were favoured, unlike our cricket team in the current world cup, to win and had a team stacked full of stars like Jonah Lomu, Jeff Wilson, Zinzan Brook and Sean Fitzpatrick. However, star power proved to be insufficient to overcome a determined South African team inspired by the late Nelson Mandela.The next morning no one had to ask why everyone in New Zealand had down cast faces.To make the pain of losing easier to deal with a story was quickly fabricated that the team had been struck down with food poisoning. But nothing could take away the fact that the team that we had placed our hopes and dreams in, had let us down.

The way many New Zealanders rugby supporters felt after losing the 1995 Rugby World Cup is not too dissimilar to the way many Jesus' followers felt on that first Easter Sunday.In Luke 24 we read that two of Jesus' followers on the road to Emmaus were down cast and depressed.They were depressed because they had placed all their hopes and dreams in Jesus redeeming Israel and overthrowing their Roman rulers.They had thought Jesus was going to establish a kingdom on earth and usher in a golden age for the Jewish people, but that had all ended with Jesus' death on a cruel Roman cross.

Unfortunately their narrow understanding of who Jesus was, his mission, and their failure to place any weight in the promises he had made about rising from the dead, had meant instead of waiting in hopeful joyful anticipation for his resurrection, and all that would entail, they had given into despair.

So when Jesus appears mysteriously on the road to Emmaus and joins them they are so busy having a pity party that they fail initially to realize that the stranger who has joined them is in fact the risen Lord. Jesus then takes them through the Scriptures to show them why they had been foolish not to believe and to doubt the witness of the women at the tomb that Jesus was alive.

Sooner or later sporting stars, or earthly heroes or things will disappoint us and fail to meet our expectations and give us the joy we hope for.The resurrection of Jesus demonstrates that he is the only one capable of meeting this need. In him we will never be disappointed.



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