It was the top of the seventh inning of game five of the 1930 World Series. The New York Yankees were playing the Chicago Cubs for the title. Up to bat for the Yankees was their most famous player, Babe Ruth. The Wrigley Field crowd was heckling him mercilessly when Ruth did something that has since become one of the greatest legends in all of sports history: He made a prediction. Babe Ruth predicted that he would hit a home run. In fact, he was so bold as to predict exactly where he would hit the ball, as he pointed toward the center field wall. And sure enough, the Bambino hit the very next pitch exactly where he had predicted he would.
Two thousand years ago, Jesus made an even bolder prediction. He predicted that he would be crucified, and on the third day, rise again. And he delivered on it. On Good Friday, the day when the Passover was to be celebrated, Jesus was nailed to a cross and died. But on Easter Sunday, his empty tomb bore silent testimony that he had fulfilled his bold prediction. And for the next 40 days, Jesus appeared to hundreds of eyewitnesses, giving them undeniable proof that he was indeed alive and well.
If Babe Ruth had failed to live up to his bold prediction in 1930, I doubt whether that would have had much, if any impact on his legacy. He would still be known as the Sultan of Swat and one of the greatest baseball players of all time. But what if Jesus had failed to live up to his bold prediction? If Jesus had remained dead, his body rotting in a cave outside of Jerusalem, nobody would remember him, let alone put their hope of heaven in him. If Jesus hadn't delivered on his bold Easter prediction, that would mean he was not the Son of God and the Savior of the world, but a failure and fraud. That's not what happened! Christ rose! He is alive! Faith in him is not misplaced; trust in him will not disappoint.
Not only did Jesus made a bold prediction about himself, he also made that same prediction about us. He said, "Because I live, you also will live." He promised, "Whoever believes in me will live, even though he dies. And whoever lives and believes in me will never die." Talk about a bold prediction! Many scoff at such a prediction, claiming it's foolishness. We would undoubtedly join the scoffers were it not for one point: Jesus actually lived up to his bold Easter prediction. And so we can make this prediction for ourselves. Like Babe Ruth, who pointed to the center field wall and said, "That's where the ball is going," because of Christ's resurrection, we can point to heaven and say, "There's where I am going!"
- Brent Merten is pastor of Mountain Valley Lutheran Church, 802 Brush Creek Terrace, Eagle.