Posted by Johnny Richards

In case you did not know, I am a big-time NC State fan. It doesn’t matter what sport it is, I am a fan. No, I did not attend NC State. My brother did, but that is not why I am a fan. I became a fan in the days of Monte Towe, Tommy Burleson and David Thompson. 1974, to be exact. I loved watching them play basketball. With Monte Towe being so short, and yet able to play the way he did, it encouraged me to play and enjoy sports. With that being said, last Monday was a difficult evening for NC State fans. NC State’s women’s basketball team was playing Connecticut for the chance to play in the NCAA Women’s basketball final four and a chance for a national championship. The game was close throughout. The game actually went into two overtimes. At one point, I caught myself thinking, “State is going to win. They are going to have a shot at a national championship.” The buzzer sounded. What looked like victory, was lost. The season ended. When this game ended, for State, there was no victory. My life went back to the way it was, no change.

When Christ died on the cross, life, for us, did change. What appeared to be the gloomiest and darkest night turned into one word…victory. As I talked about Sunday, this was God’s plan. This is exactly how He wanted it, and needed it, to go. Christ had to die on the cross for our sins so we could have the hope of eternal life. Christ had to die on the cross, and be placed in the empty tomb, so Jesus Christ could show us He had victory over death. In order for the resurrection to take place, Christ had to die on the cross. I think it is for that reason that Christ said, “it is finished.” All that had gone into that evening had been completed. It was over. But for the Christian, that was just the beginning. State’s loss did not affect my life. Christ’s victory changed my life forever. But how? For the people who looked on that day, what changed when Christ became victorious on the cross?

First, their view of what love looked like changed. Love may have appeared as selfish, focusing only on the person. But now, love was seen as something to give to others. It was now shown as selfless, humble and giving. That’s a different look. Next, the view of hope changed. With His death on the cross, things that seem impossible are now possible. If Christ could endure what He did and show love the way He did, surely, we can do things for Him with His power. Finally, our future changed. Before the cross there was no hope of life with Christ. Because of the cross, we all, everyone, has the hope of gaining eternal life. What was once a dark and stormy day turned out to be a day of victory and hope. His victory changed who we are. Today, we can give thanks for His victory and triumph. Until next week…

Peace and Blessing…  Johnny