One Little Word Changed Everything!

by Apr 21, 2011

Photograph: Elaine Thompson/APOn July 27, 1999 I had the privilege of attending the last baseball game ever played in the Seatte Kingdome against the Texas Rangers. Every seat was filled. Camera’s were flashing. Then I did something I’ve never done before (or since) – I went to the restroom mid-inning. The only solace was being able to listen to Hall of Fame announcer Dave Niehaus on the radio while taking care of natures business. I still remember the call, “Juan Gonzalez hits the ball deep to centerfield. Griffey goes back, goes back, and…” Then, what sounded like an explosion, was actually the sound of 60,000 screaming fans. I knew something great just happened! And I was in the bathroom!

Rushing back to my seat I saw my wife, Candy, shaking her head at me. It was the look that said, “You missed it!” Thankfully, they showed a replay and I saw Ken Griffey Jr. time his jump perfectly, with his waist at the top of the wall, reaching well over the  centerfield fence to bring back a sure homerun. Incredible play. So Griffey!

I think of this play every time I hear or read one small word in the english language.  It is a conjuntion that can also be used as a preposition. It is the word, “but.” This one word has the ability to dramatically and completely change someones life. When the first part of a sentence is sounding great this one little word immediately alters the direction. For example, when a guy asks a girl out on a date and she says, “I really like you but just as a friend. So the answer is no.” Deflating. Or when you think you have the job and the boss says, “You interviewed great and have just the skills we need but you are overqualified.” Discouraging.

However, there are times when this little conjunction comes with results that go well beyond the loss of a date or job; results that, if removed entirely, can change our eternal destiny. One such example is found in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The first part of this verse is depressing and damning. Everything changes, however, with this little but! I am so thankful that God reached over the wall and into my world and changed the tragectory of my eternal destination.  When He added this significant conjunction, everything changed.

I came across this small word again this week in preparation for my Easter message. It is found in Acts 3 when Peter is speaking to a crowd of people at the Temple following the crucifixion of Christ and His ascension into heaven. Peter is not winning friends and influencing people when he says, “You handed him (Jesus) over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous one and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life…”

Did you catch the powerful play on words? The author of life, killed! They knew exactly what Peter was talking about. It was only a few weeks before and within walking distance that Jesus was killed on a cross.

The cross seemed to indicate that it was all over, victory was lost, despair was victorious, and the one who claimed to be the Messiah was a fraud. On the surface, the momentum for Christianity was dead. It would never escape the first century nor ever become a world-wide movement.

Thankfully, the verse doesn’t end here. Verse 15 says, “You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.”

But God. The chapter of the cross looked grim, but God’s redemptive plan was just starting. But God. The purpose for the coming of Jesus was complete, but now the place He is preparing for us is just beginning. The Resurrection changed EVERYTHING! But God. Thank God!

If you are a follower of Christ, Easter changed the course of your eternity. Never forget this. Without Easter, Jesus is just another man who claimed to be a Messiah. Without Easter, there is no Christianity. Without Easter there is no hope, no heaven, no forgiveness, no faith – nothing!

But. This one little word changed everything. The Apostle Paul uses it again in I Corinthians 15:17-20a. “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. BUT Christ has indeed been raised from the grave.”

Griffey changed baseball games with amazing plays. Jesus Christ changed my life and eternity with amazing grace! Happy Easter!

Barry Bandara

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