*Note: This is the article that is included in my previous post (Central Christian Church “Messenger”: March 2017 edition)
Just a few days ago, on February 22, 2017, there was a celebration of sorts. What you may be asking? It was the 37th anniversary of one of the greatest upsets in sports history. On February 22, 1980, a group of amateur U.S. Hockey players went up against the USSR Hockey team that had been dominating the world over the previous 20 years. In fact, just a few days before this battle took place, the two teams had met in an exhibition match at Madison Square Garden, and the Soviet team absolutely dismantled the overmatched Americans.
This was all in the lead up to the Winter Olympics set to take place in Lake Placid, New York. As fate would have it, the American team was set to play the Soviets in the semi-finals of the Olympic hockey tournament. History was against them. Not many gave them any chance. This was a team that was filled with college hockey players going up against the professionals of the Soviets. The stage was set, and if you know anything about sports history, you know this game as the “Miracle on Ice”.
Going into the final period, the Soviet team held a 3-2 lead. It seemed that all they had to do was just hold on and they would be playing for the Gold Medal. The U.S. team had other plans. They came back and scored two third period goals to take a 4-3 lead. The Soviet team threw everything they could at the Americans through the last few minutes of the game, but the American defense held strong.
As the final seconds ticked away on the clock, the Americans possessed the puck, and it became clear that they would indeed preserve their lead. The ABC network was broadcasting the game here in the States, with Al Michaels calling the game. His call in the final seconds has become as iconic as the game itself. As those final seconds ticked away, you can hear Michaels, “Do you believer in miracles?!” And as the clock hit zero, he emphatically added, “Yes!”
The “Miracle on Ice”. It has been named the top sports moment of the 20th Century by Sports Illustrated. But I think Michaels’ question at the end is an important moment for us as well. “Do you believe in miracles?” That was his question about one of the most unlikely upsets ever in the sports world. I want to ask you the same question, but not about sports.
“Do you believe in miracles?” I mean real miracles that we read about in scripture. The healings that have no explanation. People being raised from the dead. A man walking on water. Feeding of thousands upon thousands of people with just a handful of food. Water being turned into wine. A man beaten so badly that he couldn’t be recognized and then hung on a cross until he died, coming back to life three days later. These are the miracles I’m asking if you believe in.
Jesus’ entire ministry as a human was backed up by miracles. He healed the sick, raised the dead, fed thousands with nothing, knew the hearts of those around Him, and willing went to the cross for our sins, trusting the Father to raise Him from the grave three days later. And that doesn’t even go into all the miracles that we see throughout the Old Testament and in the beginning of the Church after Jesus’ ascension to the Father. Those miracles do two things. First, it shows us God’s power. Second, they were there to give authority to those speaking; to prove that they had something worth listening to.
Many people try to explain away the miracles that we read about throughout scripture. It’s just too hard for them to believe that these things happened. If you are a Christ follower, and don’t think that these miracles actually happened, how big is the God that you claim to follow? These miracles show us the power of our God.
DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES?!
The “Miracle on Ice” was just a sporting event. In the grand scheme of things, it is not really that miraculous. If you don’t know the history of the game, however, I want to let you know that the Americans did back up this victory and go on to win the Gold Medal against Finland after the miracle on ice game. Jesus went on to back up His miracles as well. Coming out of that tomb three days after being crucified, He backed up not only everything that He had taught, but everything He had done as well. God proved who Jesus was, and that our salvation would be secure in Him through the Resurrection. So let me ask you this: DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES?! I hope you can answer “YES!”