Golfstat Sunday Devotional
In this video, CGF Staff Member Michael Blodgett (Northeast Region) shares a devotional message for college students on responding to Easter (Based on Luke 24:13-35).
Hello college golfers and coaches. Welcome to this week’s College Golf Fellowship Golfstat devotional. My name is Michael Blodgett, I am the CGF representative to the Northeast.
Last week, on this very stage, my church in Charlotte, North Carolina threw one heck of a celebration. It was Easter of course- and we celebrated Christ’s resurrection. You may have seen your friends post on social media sites the words, “He is Risen.” Well this is because in Matthew 28:6 it says: He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.
The resurrection is history’s single most important event. That’s why we celebrated it this past Sunday. It proved the validity of Jesus Christ’s claims about Himself as the Son of God. Without it, he would not have fulfill the prophecies in the OT about the resurrection- and He would have been labeled a lunatic or liar at best- He would no longer be lord. He lived the perfect, sinless life, died a brutal death in our place, and then rose again on the 3rd day. Through it we also have a guarantee for the forgiveness of our sins, as Paul points out in 1 Cor 15:17.
But let’s be honest. At the time of taping this devotional, it has been 3 days since Easter- and I’ve already forgotten about this past Sunday. It’s like Easter didn’t even happen. Fine, label me what you want, but I’m guessing by the time you get into the van for practice today or begin the next trip to your next tournament- the feeling of elation and closeness with God that you experienced on Easter Sunday with your friends and families will be long lost.
And I’m not even talking about those who didn’t have the chance to celebrate Easter with a church community because you were competing. The craziness of life begins again. But as my frustration took over, I looked to several resources and people to explain what I was having a hard time understanding.
Responding to the Resurrection
How should I respond to the resurrection, the most important event in history, after- Easter sunday? I think the first place to start is to examine our relationship with Jesus. Is it cold, detached, purely intellectual- or do you have a personal, intimate relationship with him?
Let me give you an example: If I were to ask you: “Do you know how many majors Jack Nicholas won?”- you could probably tell me without much thought, 18. How do you know this? Because you’ve probably seen replays of all his wins on the golf channel, you’ve read about him on the internet, and you know that Tiger is chasing his record. This is an intellectual, detached, relationship with someone you don’t even know. But then there are a few people who are fortunate to talk to Jack on a daily or weekly basis. They know what he was thinking as he was walking down the 18th fairway of the 1986 Master’s Tournament because they’ve asked him those questions. They’ve been over to his house- and probably had Easter Sunday dinner with him and his family. This is the type of relationship that we need to have with Jesus. One that is intimate, one that is all knowing, one that we are desiring to know more about their thoughts and feelings. This is what we can have with God through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
One of the resources that I studied this past week was Eugene Peterson “Living the Resurrection.” It was a great book and I recommend it to you. In it, he says that a right relationship with Christ that puts the resurrection in proper context requires both reverence and intimacy. We see this response in Matthew 28:9 by the women who bowed at his feet of Jesus and worshiped Him. He was the bodily form of the resurrected Jesus. If you have reverence without intimacy, you create a cold, detached following of Christ. This happens when you only know Christ from what you read or what others say. But if you have intimacy without reverence, you create gushy, emotional worship of Him that doesn’t fear his power or justice.
Take a look with me at Luke 24. Let’s read starting in verse 13.
13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.
17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.
22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive.24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”
25 And he said to them,“O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. (Luke 24:13-31, ESV)
This gives us a perfect context for knowing the story of Jesus, knowing who He is and what He has done, but not having the eyes and heart to see that intimate relationship with Him. These disciples walked with a resurrected Jesus for several miles. They listened as He taught them. But it wasn’t until they shared a meal with them after they PARTICIPATED, ENGAGED, and then RECEIVED Him as the resurrected Christ.
So we first need to come to grips with the deepness of our relationship with Christ. He wants us to know him personally and deeply, and through the Holy Spirit and the words of the bible, we can. We shouldn’t be in a detached, only needing Him when it is on our terms, relationship. We should be spending time with him daily to get to know him and to allow the Holy Spirit to teach us.
A Second Response
The second response to Easter, and this really hits home for me, is astonished wonder. Peterson, in that same book that I mentioned before, says that the account of the gospels all had little different perspectives, they provide different details of the same event of the resurrection. But there is one element that is common throughout all of them- it’s this sense of wonder, astonishment, even surprise. When the resurrection happened, no one expected it. Yet Jesus told them it would happen- but they were so concerned and caught up with Jesus’ death, that they had to do a complete about-face and now deal with His life. And when they did that, it went through the lens of awestruck wonder- like “How could this happen?”
In all honesty, a sense of wonder has been missing from my worship of God lately. Wonder breeds humility. Wonder is a sign of reverence and dependence on God’s plan that no human today could accomplish. Having an astonished wonder of the resurrection and what Jesus has accomplished in my place requires me to make space to spend with God to allow Him to work…without a plan, without a program, without my phone, just space. This puts the sabbath into context now- because without an uninterrupted space for us to be quiet with God- we begin to miss the wonder of the resurrection and the mystery of Christ. I can only imagine at what God thought on the 7th day of Creation, He looked at what He had accomplished and was in awe of it. This beautiful and perfect masterpiece.
Jesus’s death on the cross and resurrection was both gruesome and gory, and beautiful, and perfectly aligned to God’s plan to redeem those that believe in Him. Do you give God the space in your life to revel in this story?
I pray that this week you would give God that space, that you would be quiet and spend time in awe of God’s plan and what God has accomplished through Jesus Christ and His resurrection.
If you have enjoyed what you heard here today, I encourage you to look at the other devotionals posted on our website. I would also like to invite you to one of our conferences this summer. The dates for those retreats are posted online as well. They are free, and all collegiate golfers and coaches are welcome.
My colleagues and I would love to hear from you. If this devotion made an impact on your life in some way, please let us know.