[The following devotional is a part of our 2015 Easter Season Devotional Book “Passion Road.” We will be posting a devotional each day on this blog between February 18 – April 5, 2014.]
A (Pete) Rose by Any Other Name by Mark Robinson
Read: 1 Peter 1:3-5
In 1989 Major League Baseball legend Pete Rose was banned from baseball for life. Though Major League Baseball did not have hard evidence at the time regarding what games Rose had wagered on, it was clear that he had a gambling problem, and it was strongly believed that he had bet on baseball games, maybe even games his Cincinnati Reds (the team he managed at the time) were playing in. Betting on baseball by someone inside the game is about the biggest “no-no” in the big leagues. Think about it, you can commit a felony and be an all star. You can be on steroids and set home run records. You can commit moral failure, and still have product endorsements. However, you bet on the game . . . and you will never see the clubhouse again.
Facing the prospects of public humiliation and suspension, Rose began negotiations with MLB commissioner Bart Giamatti. Giamatti offered Rose a “life time ban,” but with the possibility for reinstatement after one year. Rose signed on trusting in a handshake agreement with Giamatti that he would be reinstated one year later. This seemed like a good plan to Rose. 21 years later, Rose is still banned from baseball. What happened?
Nine days after signing the agreement with Rose, Giamatti died. With Giamatti’s death, Rose’s dream for reinstatement died as well. Faye Vincent would become the commissioner of baseball, and he did not share Giamatti’s timeline for reinstatement. Every commissioner since Giamatti’s death have persisted in excluding Rose from pro baseball on any level.
I go through this story today, because its antithesis reminds me of 1 Peter 1:3-5. The New Testament speaks of the sinful condition that plagues all of humanity. Because we are all sinful, we all have an “eternal ban” from being with God in heaven. Further, the New Testament tells us that we have no hope for ever negotiating reinstatement to the kingdom of God based on our good works or religious knowledge. This is terrible news. However, this is not all of the story. Though we cannot negotiate our way into heaven, God can give us access into fellowship with Him on the basis of what Jesus Christ has done for us. His life, death, and resurrection provide the only hope that mankind has for being back in the eternal game. If we place our faith in Him, He promises to reinstate us into fellowship with God.
Now, if Jesus were like any other human, placing our faith in Him alone would be a risky proposition. As Pete Rose found out, even when someone promises to do something nice, they may not be able to follow through on that claim because of their own limitations. 1 Peter 1:3-5, however, lets us know that placing our faith in Jesus does not carry with it the same set of risks. These verses talk about the certainty of our hope in Christ. Our hope for reinstatement is certain because it is founded in the One who is alive! It is a living hope because He is alive and will never again experience death. Giamatti’s death spelled Rose’s doom. Christ’s life promises our hope. Place your faith in Him and be certain of your salvation.
- Is your hope for eternity resting on your dying ability or Jesus living hope?
- Pray for those you know who have placed their hope on anything other than Jesus.