We live in a culture that is fixated on fame. The dominant dream of the American teenager is to become famous someday. Ours is "a celebrity culture" where fame can spring up overnight if a person lands a part on the latest reality television show. Without wishing ill intent toward anyone's favorite celebrity, let's ask ourselves a couple of questions. "What has your favorite celebrity really contributed to your life?" "Has he or she done anything significant to improve your life?" Yet, many people will "hang on to every word" a celebrity utters. Many will follow a celebrity on Twitter and gush at receiving a Tweet.
Celebrities are interesting people but many are not doing well. One well-known singer acknowledges this in one of his newest songs. He sings, "I don't know what I am doing. I don't know what I am doing. Come follow me and we'll get there together." Is he serious? Why follow a person who is foggy about life and the future? Perhaps this celebrity should follow someone else. I know a man who rose from death. Maybe we should follow him. The man I refer to split time into B.C. and A.D. Jesus of Nazareth.
Jesus of Nazareth lived a life of ultimate purpose. Even his death was filled with meaning. His death manifested the real purpose for entering our world: to provide a way for humanity to come home to God.
Rev. Kent Hinkel
In the book, The Passion of Jesus Christ, "Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die," John Piper shares an abundance of reasons the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Here is an abbreviated list. Reasons why Jesus came to die:
--One, to please his heavenly father. Scripture, "The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him" (John 8:29). With words and deeds, Jesus modeled the perfect Christian life.
Reflections, a mini-sermon written by Minot and area clergy, will appear each Saturday in The Minot Daily News. Clergy interested in writing a mini-sermon should contact Religion Editor Loretta Johnson at 857-1952 or Debbie Sandvold at 857-1950. The toll-free number is 1-800-735-3229.
--Two, to declare and demonstrate his love for us. The Apostle Paul: "I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). The Apostle Paul was once an enemy of Jesus. The love of Jesus can melt the most resistant person.
--Three, for the forgiveness of our sins. Scripture: Jesus said, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins" (Matthew 26:28). Jesus declared the purpose of the suffering to cleanse us from sin and its final penalty eternal separation from God.
--Four, to give us a clear conscience. Scripture: "How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!" (Hebrews 9:14).
--Five, to enable us to live by faith in him. Scripture: "For we live by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7). Faith is a gift. It reveals truth to us from Scripture which strengthens us.
--Six, to call us to follow his example of lowliness and costly love. Scripture: "if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps" (1 Peter 2:20-21).
--Seven, to ransom a people from every tribe and language. Scripture: "with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation" (Revelation 5:9). Heaven will be filled with people from every walk of life who put their hope in Jesus Christ.
--Eight, to gain his joy and ours. Scripture: "For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).
--Nine, to enable us to live for Christ and not ourselves. Scripture: "And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again" (2 Corinthians 5:15).
--Ten, to show that the worst evil is meant by God for good. Scripture: "Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen" (Acts 4:27-28). Ultimately, it was God's plan (not merely human evil) that placed Christ on the cross. The crucifixion demonstrates the greatest act of divine love for us.
Are you following Jesus Christ? He promises us more than you know. "Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life" (see John 5:24). There is not a celebrity on earth who can promise you more than that.