The year was 1980. I was a 17-year-old high school student when it happened. They called it a “miracle on ice.” I am referring to the time when the United States Olympic hockey team beat the Russians in the semifinals of the Winter Games in Lake Placid, New York. The unexpected victory over the Russians came at the height of the Cold War, making the victory even sweeter.
You don’t have to be a sports fan to know about the rag-tag team of college hockey players that made Olympic history. Hollywood popularized their story with a movie called Miracle. The United States hockey team was the seventh seed in a twelve-team tournament. Thirteen days before the start of the Olympics, the U.S. team lost to the Russians by a score of 10 to 3 in an exhibition match held in Madison Square Garden. Nobody thought the U.S. team had a chance to beat the Russians in the Olympics.
Jim Craig (goalie) and Mike Eruzione (team captain) became household names. So did Herb Brooks, the legendary coach that motivated his players to deliver their best performance ever on the ice. “You were born to be hockey players,” he told them in the locker room. “You were meant to be here. This is your moment.”
Al Michaels of ABC Sports called the play-by-play. With seconds remaining on the clock, he shouted with irrational exuberance, “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” Game over. The 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team was now in the record books.
With all due respect to the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, their victory over the Russianswas not a miracle. Make no mistake. The so-called “miracle on ice” was an incredible sporting event where one team beat the odds and surprised the world, but it was not a miracle. However, it was a miracle when . . .
- Jesus turned water into wine (John 2:1-11)
- Jesus healed a nobleman’s son (John 4:46-54)
- Jesus healed a man who had been sick for 38 years and unable to walk (John 5:1-17)
- Jesus fed five thousand men and their families with a few loaves of bread and a handful of fishes (John 6:1-15)
- Jesus walked on water. (John 6:16-21)
- Jesus restored sight to a blind man’s eyes (John 9:1-41)
- Jesus raised his friend Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-46)
Jesus made the fish of the sea swim into the disciple’s fishing nets after they fished all night and caught nothing (John 21:1-25)
Do you believe in miracles? Do you need a miracle? During His earthly ministry, Jesus touched and transformed the lives of so many people that the libraries of the world would not have room for the books that could be written. The four gospels record 37 of Jesus’s miracles, of which eight are found in John’s gospel as signs that point to Jesus as the Messiah.
You won’t find the ice hockey miracle in John’s gospel, but you will read about the wedding miracle, the long distance miracle, the poolside miracle, the lunch miracle, the perfect storm miracle, the blind man miracle, the Lazarus miracle, and the second chance miracle. In these supernatural moments, you will also discover the truth and the power to believe.