3. 2004 Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox are one of the most famous professional sports franchises in America. Their popularity has created the Red Sox Nation where people from all over the world, not just New England, follow them fanatically. Their fan base has grown even greater since they pulled off the greatest baseball playoff comeback in history.
The Sox had a very successful beginning to their franchise including winning the very first World Series. They went on to win four more world championships by 1918 and the future looked very bright for years to come. However, after 1918, they did not win another World Series for 86 years. It was called the “Curse of the Bambino” since, after they traded away Babe Ruth to the hated Yankees, they never won another world championship. They played in four World Series and never won, even with some of the greatest baseball players ever like Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski.
In 2004 they played their rival the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series. They had lost to them in the same series the previous year. The Red Sox began the series by losing the first two games and then in Game Three they lost 19-8 at home which was the worst playoff loss in Red Sox history. They were now down 3-0 and no team in Major League Baseball history had ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a postseason series.
Game Four went into extra innings and was won by the Red Sox on a walk off homer by David “Big Papi” Ortiz. Game Five also went into extra innings and was won when Ortiz hit an RBI single. The Sox now had to go back to unfriendly Yankee stadium for Game Six, having barely escaped in the last two games and knowing they still would lose the series if they lost one more game. Game Six was won by the Red Sox thanks in large part to the pitching of Kurt Schilling who had stitches in his ankle but still managed to defeat the Yankees. In Game Seven, for the first time the Yankees were in danger of losing the series and incredibly they did lose the game and the series. The Boston Red Sox had overcome the greatest deficit in baseball history against their most hated rival to have a comeback like no other in playoff baseball.
However, the comeback was not yet complete since they still had to win the World Series in order to have a world championship. They played the St. Louis Cardinals, who had won more world championships than any club except the Yankees. The Red Sox came into the series on a four game winning streak and amazingly won four straight to sweep the Cardinals and win their first world championship in eighty six years. The greatest baseball comeback was now complete.
2. Abraham Lincoln
Many (myself included) consider Lincoln to be the greatest President in the history of the United States. He led the country through its greatest moral and military crisis. He essentially saved the country from destruction and directed it toward restoration.
He grew up in meager circumstances being born in a log cabin. His mother died when he was just nine years old and for his education he was essentially self -taught. He tried his hand at business and he failed at it not just once but twice. During that time he also ran for his first elected office and he lost. His first true love died, probably of typhoid fever, and he also had what most today would call a nervous breakdown.
When he ran for U.S. Congress, though he was elected to four terms in the Illinois House of Representatives, he lost. He also ran twice for the U.S. Senate and lost both times as well as losing the election in 1856 as the Vice-Presidential candidate. Previous to his run for the Presidency he had only won one national election in his entire political career. Lincoln experienced an incredible number of setbacks in both his personal and professional life.
Yet, he would make one of the greatest comebacks in history. In 1860 Lincoln was elected the sixteenth President of the United States. This marked the beginning of his remarkable comeback. His Presidency began with the secession of the southern states and the beginning of the Civil War at Fort Sumter. Lincoln had the immense challenge of directing the war effort, handling his normal presidential responsibilities and dealing with the criticism of anti-war Democrats. He showed deft political skill and leadership acumen in dealing with all of his challenges.
He had many great accomplishments that solidify his place in American history and reveal the greatness of his comeback. His Gettysburg Address is the most quoted speech in American history. The Emancipation Proclamation freed all slaves and stands as one of the greatest acts of moral leadership in history. His reelection in 1864 confirmed that his continued leadership was vital to the country. His approach and attitude toward the defeated Southern states helped reunite the nation. Without Lincoln, the United States would look very different today. What he accomplished considering his many setbacks mark his comeback as one of the greatest of all time.
1. Jesus Christ’s Resurrection
Jesus was the most important person who ever lived. His life, death and resurrection literally changed the course of human history. He experienced the ultimate setback and he had the ultimate comeback.
Jesus began his life miraculously having been born of a virgin. His birth was conceived by the Holy Spirit through the Virgin Mary. He was literally both God and man. Jesus was unique and special, which was recognized by the religious scholars of his day while he was still young. Jesus launched his public ministry when He was thirty years old. He overcame the temptation of the Devil in the desert, proclaimed himself to be the Messiah and gathered together a team of twelve disciples. He traveled throughout his region doing good, healing the sick and teaching God’s message. He preformed many miracles and created quite a stir amongst many religious leaders.
Jesus predicted that the Kingdom of God would come but it would not be an earthly kingdom or a political revolution. Rather Jesus would become the leader of each individual’s life and establish His teachings as the way to live life. Many chose to become Jesus’ followers and He had great popularity with the general public. Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life. However, He was viewed with suspicion and disdain by the religious leaders of his day.
Those religious leaders convinced one of Jesus’ disciples to betray Him. Jesus was arrested and brought before the Roman authorities for punishment. Pilate, the Roman governor, did not think Jesus was guilty of anything but gave them a choice and they demanded that Jesus be the one to be given a death sentence.
Jesus was guilty of no crime and had done incredible good yet he was crucified. Crucifixion was the most painful and horrendous death a person could be sentenced to in the ancient world. The hands and feet were nailed to intersecting wooden beams and then the cross was lifted up and placed in the ground. In order for Jesus to breathe He would have to lift Himself up tearing His flesh in the process. Every moment on the cross He was in excruciating pain. Jesus also had a crown of thorns placed on His head and His side was pierced with a sword. The entire time He was on the cross He was mocked, ridiculed and spat upon.
Finally, Jesus died. There can be no greater setback than to be cruelly and mercilessly killed. Jesus was buried in a cave. Jesus died on a Friday and some women went to the cave on Sunday morning and found the stone in the front of the tomb had been rolled away. Jesus was not dead, but had risen from the grave! The greatest comeback in history had taken place, a dead person had come back to life – death had been beaten. He then appeared to His disciples and explained to them what had happened. He died as a sinless person for all the sins of humanity. His resurrection proved His victory over sin and death.
Anyone who confesses their sins to Jesus will be forgiven and granted eternal life. Thus, because of Jesus’ comeback any person can have their greatest personal comeback. The setback of mistakes, failures and sins can be forgiven. The comeback of inner peace, purpose and meaning in life is now available. We can live our lives in a personal relationship with God experiencing His plan for our lives and we can spend eternity in heaven with Him after this life is over. Thanks to Jesus, life’s greatest comeback is available to you any time you choose.
Rick McDaniel is the founder/senior pastor of Richmond Community Church in Richmond, VA. The church is known for its contemporary style and innovative services. It has a worldwide reach through its Internet Campus (www.highimpactchurch.tv.) Rick’s messages are featured in video form on LightSource and in audio form on One Place as well as on audible and amazon. Rick has three earned degrees including an advanced degree from Duke University. He has traveled and spoken on five continents and has authored three previous books.
If you doubt the veracity of Jesus’ resurrection consider some evidence. In ancient courts a women could not be a witness, only the testimony of a man was accepted. Yet, the first witnesses of Jesus resurrection were women. If it were just a fanciful story why use women as witnesses? The resurrection cannot be a myth because it does not fit the characteristics of a myth. Myths were developed over time the story of Jesus’ resurrection was written within twenty years and known orally many years before that. Also, Christians never venerated the site of Jesus’ death rather they focused on the tomb where he rose. And there were some five hundred witnesses to Jesus after his resurrection. How can that many people all have the story wrong?
This list is an excerpt from the book, Comeback: Overcoming The Setbacks In Your Life.