By Chaplain (Capt.) Matt Woodside
When I was kid, my heroes were sports figures. One of my earliest basketball heroes was Julius Erving of the Philadelphia Seventy Sixers. My older brother introduced me to the moves and game of Erving, who was known in basketball circles as Dr. J. He was aptly named because of his precision moves and surgeon-like skills on the court. Dr. J could slice through defenses with ease. His most iconic move was his signature glide towards the rim, resulting with him slamming the ball over helpless defenders as they watched with amazement. Basketball experts vowed there would never be another like him.
But as Erving was exiting professional basketball, another young star came on the scene, Michael Jordan. Jordan was knick-named “Air,” because he appeared to fly through the air, even if for a brief moment. Jordan took Erving’s aerial acrobatics to another level. On one occasion, Jordan stunned the basketball world by jumping from behind the free throw line and dunking the basketball, something only Erving had done years earlier. Jordan’s dunk signaled to the world that as great as Erving was, he wasn’t the only one who could do incredible feats of basketball acrobatics.
In the year 2020, there are now numerous players who can take off from the behind the free throw line and dunk a basketball. The feat is still impressive and amazing, but as time has passed, the accomplishment doesn’t seem as incredible. The uniqueness of it is gone.
As we reflect on the highest Christian holiday of Easter, or Resurrection Sunday, we celebrate the uniqueness of Jesus. The Christian tradition celebrates that he was uniquely conceived, uniquely born and that he lived a unique life of ministry here on Earth. His death was unique in that it paid for our sins. And most significantly, his resurrection was unique in that he alone came back from the dead to never die again. Scripture recounts men and women whom God had raised from the dead, but those individuals still experienced death once again. Jesus, the unique, eternal son of God, died, was raised and lives evermore.
Jesus is one-of-a-kind. There was never anyone like him, and there will never be anyone like him. Let us remember this as we celebrate his resurrection this season.
(Editor’s note: Woodside is the 43rd Adjutant General Battalion chaplain.)