I love celebrity. I mean real celebrity.
A celebrity is someone who is publicly known for something distinctive – something that others can look at, write about, or admire. A celebrity is someone who others want to follow, or know, or be like. Maybe they can move faster, or jump further, or climb higher, or dive deeper, or hit harder. Maybe they can sing louder, or act more convincingly, or dance more expertly, or write more creatively, or speak more persuasively, or make people laugh more hysterically. Maybe they can make more money, or invent more things, or manage more people. There are many reasons why someone becomes famous and stands out in a culture.
When we follow celebrity, there is always a cost – it may be our time, money or energy.
When the entertainer arrives on our shores, we pay (sometimes exorbitant amounts of money!) to go and see them. When our favourite team plays our favourite sport we dress up in the team colours (regardless of how ridiculous we might look!) and head out to support them. When a royal arrives we line the streets (well, some of us do!) and cheer. We read about celebrities. We buy products or services promoted by celebrities. And then when they die, we collectively mourn those celebrities.
Yet, celebrities come and go. For so many, their star shines for a while, and then when the talent or reason which got them the attention in the first place loses its appeal, the celebrity fades from view. The mark of a genuine celebrity is that they continue across the years to gain attention and be appreciated by the wider public (even if that means being ridiculed at the same time!). Often, these celebrities become known and loved for things that were secondary to why they first came to public attention. The genuine celebrity is rare.
Let me ask you a question: Would you say Jesus was a celebrity?
It seems like a crass way to talk about Jesus, worldly at best. But, for a moment let us just think about Jesus the celebrity!
Jesus is known by others for something distinctive – he came to offer forgiveness of sins and life forever with God. He offers something that frankly, no one else can offer. People have looked at, written about, and admire who he is and what he did. There are people who follow him and want to know about him and find out how they can do what he did. Over the centuries, he has gained attention and continued to be appreciated by the wider public. Yes, he has his critics (as celebrities tend to have), and it is not uncommon for people to look at Jesus and focus on things that seem to be secondary to what he claimed was most important – they see him now as only a good teacher, a miracle worker, a moral man, a radical, or a political maneuverer.
Yes, Jesus does fit the bill. In many ways Jesus is a celebrity. He is famous.
Yet, there is something very un-celebrity about Jesus. His star shines, not for his benefit, but for those he came to save. The benefit of following Jesus, despite the cost, is all for the one following!
For more in this Series:
Bold in Mission
Bold in Witness & the Great Commission
Believe and Confess
How to be Bold in Witness?
Practical Tips to be Bold in Witness
Is Every Christian Called to be an Evangelist?