Well, March Madness is once again upon us. If you are a basketball fan, this is an exciting time of the year. The NBA playoffs are just around the corner. The NCAA college basketball tournament is wrapping up. This weekend, the men’s Final Four will be played in Houston.
The more intriguing storyline, however, is what is happening in women’s college basketball. The University of Connecticut Huskies are dominating women’s basketball more than any other team in history.
They have won the last three national championships. Their record over the last three seasons is 113-1. Right now, in the NCAA tournament, playing against the best teams in the nation, they haven’t won a game by less than 46 points. Last Saturday, they beat Mississippi State, the fifteenth ranked team in the country, by a score of 98-38.
The UConn Huskies are the Harlem Globetrotters of women’s basketball and every other team is the Washington Generals.
They are, simply put, unbeatable. I am guessing that some teams, when they realize they have to play UConn, just throw up their arms in despair. I mean, what’s the use of even playing? There’s no way you can win.
Death is the UConn Huskies women’s basketball team. In fact, death has an even better record. There’s no way you can beat it. Despite all the marvels of modern medicine, exercise, diets and plastic surgery, every one of us is going to die. Like an UConn Huskies national championship, death is inevitable.
It all started with a tree, a serpent and a lie. It started when Adam and Eve doubted God’s love for them and disobeyed. From the moment they ate of the forbidden fruit, they began to die. On that day, death’s winning streak began.
A streak which continues to this day. From the moment we are born, we begin to die. Our bodies are wearing out. We are growing old. We are dying. Death’s winning streak isn’t going to end with us.
That’s why Easter is so important. On that first Easter Sunday, Jesus did the unthinkable, the unimaginable – the impossible. He defeated death. He beat the UConn Huskies.
Yes, Jesus died. He died our death. He suffered the punishment we deserve for all the lousy things we do. On the cross Jesus’ heart stopped beating. The synapses of his brain ceased firing. His soul left his body. He died.
But he didn’t stay dead. He came back to life. On that first Easter morning, his soul re-entered his body. His heart once again began to beat. The synapses in his brain began to fire. Jesus defeated death.
And his victory is our victory. He promises us, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live even though he dies” (John 11: 25).
Don’t get me wrong, unless the end of the world comes first, you will die one day. You will be lying in a hospital bed or at an accident scene or in a nursing home and your heart will suddenly stop beating. The synapses in your brain will cease firing. Your soul will leave your body.
Yet because Jesus died for your sins, because he worked faith in your heart through his Word and the waters of Holy Baptism, God will welcome your soul into heaven. Death is just a door we pass through on our way to heaven.
Then, on the last day, when Jesus comes to judge, he will raise our rotting corpses. He will glorify them. The perishable will be made imperishable. Never again will we grow old. Never again will we die.
On that day, death will die. The UConn Huskies will be vanquished. Our victory will be complete – all because of Jesus.
With him on your team, you can’t lose.