Wednesday, April 3, 2013

White Hot for Jesus

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]
~ Matthew 22:36-39, NIV ~

If you missed The Bible Series the past 5 weekends on The History Channel, you missed a truly remarkable portrayal of God's love letter and consistent outreach to mankind.  For our family, it opened conversations that still continue with our tweens and teen, taking their faith journey even deeper.  We feel blessed to have such a visual aid to grow our children in love and knowledge of their Savior.

Working in special needs ministry, I took a particular interest in the series because I saw much support ahead of its premier by church leaders.  Rolling my eyes at first, I thought, Here we go again...  Another "Passion of the Christ" frenzy.  But I reined in my cynicism as I saw prominent leaders I trust, like Rick Warren, continuing to get behind this drama.  I decided to watch the first episode with our children and found the series to be worthy of all the support it had garnered.

I suppose part of my reserve comes in questioning people's motives for producing such media.  As we all know, everything claiming to be about the Bible or Jesus is not necessarily good.  I wanted to get more into the hearts and heads of those producing and acting in the series.  Was this just another role for them?  What does Jesus mean to each of these people?

A gifted and charismatic Portuguese actor, Diogo Morgado plays the role of Christ with a focus towards love and compassion in the New Testament episodes.  As I began to watch him as well as Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, suddenly entered the expression #hotJesus. Apparently, his good looks and tender portrayal have earned Morgado quite the swooning followers on Twitter.  Thus, their 140 character remarks about him are tagged with the expression #hotJesus.
While there is no doubt that Diogo Morgado is an attractive young man who loves the Lord, the revelation that this was going on actually made me sad.  It suddenly occurred to me, What if every one of us treated the real Jesus as if he is THE #hotJesus?  What if we had the passion for Christ that we have for movie stars?  What would that look like?

Imagine a world where we are as obsessed with Jesus as we are for those in the popular culture!  Our spare time would be spent reading everything we can about Him.  We would be talking with our friends about Jesus all the time.  In fact, we would let friends who don't know Him know that they were missing out on Someone BIG.  Can't you hear the words now, "Oh, you have GOT to check him out!"?  We would want to be everywhere Jesus is working.  That means that we would gladly get dirty working with the poor, the needy, the outcast, standing in long lines and facing miserable circumstances just to be near Him.  We would hang on His every word, repeating it to one another again and again in intimate conversations.  Being just like Him, close to Him, knowing Him would fill our minds and would be a reflex reaction.  Everyone around us would know how we feel about Jesus.  We would cherish His visit to us in the hospital or the school.  We would know His clout would accomplish for us what we cannot accomplish for ourselves.  Our world would be completely different.

So, the million dollar question is, Why aren't we white hot for Jesus?  My teenage daughter brought me a chuckle when she suggested that it would be good if you could learn everything there was to know about Jesus in 15 minutes on Wikipedia just like you can your favorite celebrities.  Together, she and I laughingly confessed how pathetically addicted to instant gratification we humans have become.  We want to see Jesus, hear from him immediately in our present circumstance.  The funny thing is, we can get closer to that, if we just spend more time in solitude with Him and devour His word.  We need to remember that "We walk by faith and not by sight." (2 Corinthians 5:7)  His Holy Spirit assures that we don't need an appointment, a phone call or tweet to hear from Him.  And no matter how many obsessed followers Jesus has, he'll always love each one the best.  How cool is that?

Friend, get to know him better, deeper, more intimately.  Your world will change when you love Jesus with the same level of passion that He loves you.  Celebrities and every human on this earth will disappoint you  eventually.  The real Jesus will never fail, leave or forsake you.  That makes him THE #hotJesus indeed!

PRAY:  Lord, I have set up idols in my mind and heart other than you.  I see it as a fun distraction from the challenges of raising my child with special needs, but it's just misguided.  Those celebrities can never be half of what You are.  Holy Spirit keep my heart obsessed with You instead!

Bible Footnotes:
a.  Matthew 22:37, Deut.6:5
b.  Matthew 22:39, Lev. 19:18

Photo Image Courtesy of Bible Series


The Bible Series is now available on Blu-ray & DVD for your family's spiritual enrichment.  Please note that there are many violent, graphic scenes which may not be appropriate for young children.

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