None of us was alive two millennia ago, so it is difficult for us to relate to the time that Jesus lived. I thought it would be interesting to measure Jesus’ life and lifestyle against today’s standards of a successful life. I want to do this by asking, “Did Jesus” questions. I will consider one of these questions per post.
“Did Jesus live a celebrity lifestyle?”
Ask nearly any young person from pre-adolescents to thirty-somethings what they would like to be in the future and many will answer, “a celebrity.” Many of today’s young people grow up watching and following the every move of their favorite celebrities, be it actors or actresses, musicians, high-profile athletes or any other type of famous person. They get wrapped up in the lives of these individuals. They hang on their every word and latest style. The follow them on Twitter, Instagram, and other social media outlets.
So what is the appeal of being a celebrity? There are numerous answers to this question. First their is the incredible amount of money they make; for doing very little by the way. This money affords them an extravagant lifestyle of over-the-top houses, automobiles, planes, gourmet food, and of course, parties. After all, who wouldn’t want all that stuff? Jesus. That’s who.
Jesus is far and above the most well-known and recognized man in all of human history. He is the “celebrity’s celebrity.” Yet when we read about His life and lifestyle we see very little resemblance to the extravagant celebrity lifestyle I was just speaking about. Jesus told one man who wanted to follow Him that although foxes had burrows and birds had nest, He himself had no place to bed down for the night. Maybe the bible forgot to mention the palatial estate that He stayed at when he wasn’t on tour, but I highly doubt it. Jesus told His followers not to worry about food, drink or clothes, chasing after them. He told them instead to chase after the kingdom of God, and if they did, all those other things of life would be provided for and simply fall into place. Jesus followed His own advice, as He frequently escaped from the crowds to go to a private place and pray and spend time with His Heavenly Father.
Jesus was unarguably a huge celebrity in His day. He drew crowds of thousands on a regular basis, even without the aid of social media, cable television or print media. Amazingly, He didn’t even have a smartphone! How He was able to draw such large crowds everywhere He went is a subject for another day, perhaps another blog post, but just know that He was indeed an uber-celebrity. And like all celebrities, He was loved by many and hated by many others. He could have easily parlayed his celebrity status into wealth and extravagant living like the celebrities of today do, but He didn’t. He lived a simple, humble life and lived to serve, not to be served. What a huge contrast to our current social values!
He could have had anything He wanted. What He really wanted in this life was to have an amazingly close and intimate relationship with His Heavenly Father. Everything He did in His life helped to grow and develop that relationship. We have the opportunity to do the same, if we so choose. Sadly, the overwhelming majority of of choose not to develop that kind of relationship with our Heavenly Father. It takes work; a lot of time and effort. I can wear an officially licensed NFL New England Patriots jersey, with the number 12 on it, but that doesn’t mean that I am a close friend of Tom Brady, play for the same team as Brady, or even ever go to a game at Gillette stadium in Foxborough! But there are a lot of people wearing “Christian” jerseys out there that don’t really know Jesus, they aren’t really on His team, and some rarely or never can be found in His Father’s house. Just something to think about…
After His life, came His death. When most celebrities die, they get honored in the media, some get posthumous awards, some even get into their respective hall of fame. The greatest ones make it into the history books. But when this man died, it changed the world. His death broke down the barrier that had been between man and God for nearly all of human history. He made it possible for us to have an intimate relationship with our Creator, the way it was intended in the beginning. His death was violent and brutal, but it was filled with grace and mercy for us. He accomplish much more in His death than He ever did in his life. He did for you and me what no other person, celebrity or otherwise, could have ever done. He did more for us than we could ever comprehend.