It was a moment I will never forget. And I’m pretty sure Nathan won’t either.
We took a trip to Pittsburgh this week, to visit my 90-year-old Grandmother and also take in the sights. Monday night, we went to PNC Park to watch the Cincinnati Reds take on the Pittsburgh Pirates.
We got there around 5pm and noticed the Reds were taking batting practice, so we made our way down to the field. My 7-year-old son squeezed in along the railing, just behind first base and watched his favorite player, Joey Votto, take grounders, just a feet away. Nathan was loving it, but the night would only get better.
A few minutes later, Votto took a look at one particular BP ball and decided to toss it into the stands where Nathan and 30-40 other Reds fans were watching. The boy next to Nathan, who was probably 9 or 10 years old, caught the ball and then handed it to my son. Nathan studied that worn baseball and then turned around and held it up for me to see. I was several rows back, enjoying the moment for my son. He had always wanted to get a baseball at a game, and even better, he was getting one from his favorite player.
Then BP ended and Joey took off for the dugout to get a sharpie marker. He came back to the contingent of Reds fans and began signing autographs. Nathan watched his favorite player sign his new baseball (picture attached) and then as Votto was handing it back, the unthinkable happened. The ball dropped out of Nathan’s hand and onto the field of play.
I wanted to yell out from 10 feet behind. “Joey! Get the ball!” But I didn’t. The All-Star first baseman moved on to the next fan and then, as he finished signing, stooped down, picked up Nathan’s baseball, and handed it back to him.
What a range of emotions we experienced in a 10-minute span. Excitement. Hope. Joy. Heartbreak. Redemption.
Jesus disciples experienced quite the range of emotions this very week, 2000 years ago.
Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem was exciting. The King was coming to take over a corrupt land! (Mark 11)
Then the plans seemed to go awry as Jesus was betrayed by Judas and handed over. (Luke 21-22)
His followers must have been so heartbroken. All that they had lived for the previous three years was being nailed to a cross, to die. Their hopes, their identities, their futures, all being put to death with each strike of the nail into Jesus hands, into his feet.
Then the waiting. Two full nights sleep. Or probably lack of sleep. There was fear that they would be next. There was hopelessness for any change or restoration. They probably wondered how they could go on.
The moment Jesus came back, Heaven must have erupted. Life on earth would never be the same again.
I know how I felt as Joey Votto handed that ball back to Nathan. That joy pales in comparison to how time changed when Jesus walked out of the grave.
Hope flooded back onto the landscape of a new future.
Death no longer has a sting.
Relationship with our Creator, real relationship, is possible. Jesus made a way.
It’s up to us to choose that way. We need to repent, to be baptized, and to follow Him. (Acts 2:38)
Wherever you are in that journey, today is the day! Right now, is the hour! He is ready to take you deeper and to lead you through this life.
Will you give everything you are to the One who gave everything for you?