Everybody loves a good comeback story. A story about an individual or a group of people, an organization, team, or business, who, when facing impossible adversity, somehow overcomes the odds and wins. History is full of them.
One of my favorites is the story of Bernie Marcus. Bernie was the son of a poor Russian cabinetmaker in Newark, New Jersey. In 1978, he was fired from a do-it-yourself retail store called HANDY DAN. What do you do when you’ve been fired from HANDY DAN? Well, Bernie teamed up with a guy named Arthur Blank, and they decided to start their own business.They opened their first store in Atlanta, Georgia. It was called THE HOME DEPOT. Today, they have stores all over the world, and their annual income is in the billions. That’s a great comeback story!
Or how about Wilma Rudolph, who was the 20th of 22 children? She was born prematurely and her survival was doubtful. When she was 4, she contracted double pneumonia and scarlet fever, which left her with a paralyzed left leg. At age 9, she removed the metal leg brace she had been dependent on and began to walk without it. At age 13, she’d developed a rhythmic walk, which doctors said was a miracle. That same year she decided to become a runner. She entered a race and came in last. For the next few years, every race she entered, she came in last. Everyone told her to quit, but she kept on running. One day she actually won a race. And then another. From then on, she won every race she entered. Eventually, this little girl who was told she would never walk again went on to win three Olympic gold medals.
Talk about comebacks, did you know General Douglas MacArthur was turned down when he applied for admission to West Point? Not just once, but twice. He came back a third time, was accepted and marched into the history books. Or how about Albert Einstein, who developed the theory of relativity? Did you know he was expelled from school for being dumb? In a 6-month period, he taught himself calculus. In 1905, he published three papers that revolutionized man’s image of the physical universe and helped lay the foundation for the nuclear age. One of the papers offered an explanation of the photoelectric effect, which concerns the emission of electrons from metal surfaces exposed to light. Theoretically, this study represented a cornerstone of the quantum theory, and practically, it made possible many great inventions, including television and automation systems.
Those are all great comebacks. But none of them would qualify as THE WORLD’S GREATEST COMEBACK.
What about Thomas Edison, who was kicked out of school because they could do nothing with him? The teachers told his mother he was just too slow to learn. So, little Thomas was home schooled by his mother. And he made quite a comeback. At the age of 10 he’d already set up his first chemistry laboratory. He became our nation’s most famous inventor with inventions such as the light bulb, the phonograph and the kinetoscope. When he synchronized these, he produced motion pictures. He gave us over 1300 inventions that have radically improved our world.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was paralyzed by polio at the age of 39. Yet he went on to become one of the most beloved and influential leaders in American history, being elected President of the U.S. four times.
In 1952 Sir Edmund Hillary attempted to climb Mount Everest, 29,000 feet, straight up. He failed. But he wanted to go back and try again. And, one year later, on May 29, he succeeded in becoming the first man to climb Mount Everest and reach the very top.
In the 1940s a young inventor named Chester Carlson took his idea to 20 corporations, including some of the biggest in the country. They all turned him down and he almost quit. In 1947, after seven long years of continuous rejection, he went back to a tiny company in Rochester, New York; the Haloid Company. They purchased the rights to his electrostatic paper-copying process. Haloid changed its name to Xerox Corporation, and Carlson’s invention changed all of our lives.
More contemporary comeback stories would include the CHRYSLER CORPORATION and Lee Iacocca. In 1980, the company teetered on the edge of bankruptcy. Chairman Iacocca argued successfully for $1.2 billion dollars in federal loan guarantees to save the company. Talk about a comeback. Last year, the company had sales of $20.5 billion.
One of the greatest comeback stories in college football history happened on November 23, 1984. Boston College was playing the Miami Hurricanes. On the last play of the game, down 45-41, Doug Flutie threw a 70-yard pass that was caught in the end zone by his roommate, Gerard Phelan. Or how about the greatest comeback in NFL history in 1993? When a back up quarterback, Frank Reich, playing in place of injured Jim Kelly, brought the Buffalo Bills back from a 32-point deficit to beat the Houston Oilers.
What about Sean Elliott’s return to NBA basketball after a kidney transplant?
Those are all great comebacks. But none of them would qualify as THE WORLD’S GREATEST COMEBACK. Even in the Bible we find some phenomenal comebacks. Joseph who went from the pit to the palace, becoming the Prime Minister of Egypt. King David’s comeback after his fall. Job would certainly qualify as one of the greatest comebacks of all time. John Mark would qualify after failing on his first missionary journey. Peter would be at the top of the list, after denying knowing the Lord, yet God allowed him to come back and preach the very first sermon on the opening day of the church, the Day of Pentecost.
However, none of those would qualify for The World’s Greatest Comeback. In Matthew 28:1-10, we have the greatest event in all of human history: The RESURRECTION of JESUS CHRIST. Talk about a COMEBACK (vs. 6). The angel said, “Jesus told you He’d come back. And He did. He’s alive!” This weekend a large portion of the world will celebrate the RESURRECTION of JESUS, and it is certainly one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the world. But what would you say if I told you the greatest comeback is yet to come?
That’s right. The world’s greatest comeback is still in the future. It’s going to be when Jesus returns for His own. (Read John 14:1-6; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.) If we believe in the risen Lord and have accepted Him as our Lord and Savior, He’s coming back for us. If we don’t believe in the risen Lord and fail to give our lives to Him, we’ll be left behind, forever.
Here’s the point: Jesus is coming back ... there’s no question about that. The question is ... is He coming back for you?
© 2015. Barry L. Cameron
[Come back and worship with us today, at the largest outdoor Easter service in the DFW area. Gates open at 3:30. Or tomorrow at 6:50, for our sunrise service in our amphitheater, or at 8:45, 10 & 11:30 in our main auditorium.]
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.