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COLUMN: It didn't end on Good Friday

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By George Smith

 In the 1982 NBA championship series between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Philadelphia 76ers, the Lakers won the first three games. One more game and the Lakers would be the champions. But the 76ers refused to give up. A sports writer interviewed Julius Erwin (Dr. J) and asked if the 76ers were going to concede the series. Dr. J showed optimism when he said, “It is not over until it’s over.”

Dr. J meant there was at least one more game to be played and the 76ers were not ready to throw in the towel. He was saying, “We will play it out to the end.”

That is the message of Easter. God can bring life out of death, victory out of defeat and resurrection out of crucifixion. If God is in it, “it is not over until it’s over.”

Good Friday was a terrible day as Jesus was nailed to the cross, before finally being laid in a tomb. If you had talked to people on the Jerusalem streets they would have said, “It’s over.” The two disciples on the road to Emmaus seemed to express his followers’ feelings when they said, “… we had hoped that he was going to redeem Israel.”

But it wasn’t over. Early on Easter morning the women came to anoint the body of Jesus and were told by the angels, “He is not here. He is risen.” They came to see that the central truth of Easter is: It is not over until it’s over.  Nothing is over until God is thru with it.

Jesus had said, “Destroy the temple ….” His enemies thought he was referring to the physical temple, but Jesus was speaking of his body. On the third day he came forth victorious over the grave. Jesus knew he would not stay dead and there was a resurrection after the crucifixion.

Job asked, “If a man die, will he live again?” Jesus answered that when he said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25).

May his resurrection lead us to unconditional surrender to him who was dead but is alive forevermore.