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4 Things I Love About Jesus…and Michael Jordan

Photo: CBS sports

Christians can learn something from Kobe Bryant. In the same way that Kobe followed Michael Jordan’s philosophy in basketball, Christians might use the same model to follow the teachings of Jesus. Kobe exhausted Jordan with constant calls at all hours of the night. Likewise, we should pray without ceasing to understand God’s way of doing things. Kobe peppered Mike with questions about how and why he played the game the way he did. In the same way, we should study the word of God to better understand Jesus and how he lived.

In case you’re not watching “The Last Dance”….spoiler alert….Michael Jordan is the most dominant figure in the history of basketball. Jesus, however, is the most dominant figure in the history of the world. No debate about it.

I am a historian. I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all of history.

H.G. Wells

Here are 5 Things I love about Jesus besides the obvious…

Jesus Knew Who He Was

In Luke 4, satan tried to provoke Jesus during a fast. “If you are the son of God, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus responded, “No!” Then quoted scripture, “People do not live by bread alone.” (Deuteronomy 8:3) Jesus didn’t waste time or effort trying to prove himself to soothe his ego or to pacify the curiosity of others.

Jesus Didn’t Let Others Define Him

When he was criticized for healing a man on the sabbath, Jesus asked, “Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath or is it a day for doing evil?” (Mark 3:4) Jesus played by different rules… kingdom rules. As Christians, we often let the world set the rules. They expect us to be hyper-moral, flawless caricatures of Jesus. Jesus did not allow religious tradition or world culture to set the rules for him. Neither should we.

Jesus Knew When to Check ’em

In Matthew 15 when the religious leaders questioned Jesus about his lack of keeping their traditions, he responded in kind. “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you.” (Matthew 15:7) The world slaps Jesus with the “nice” label like he’s the supernatural Mister Rogers. Jesus was a loving, forgiving, “turn the other cheek” kind of dude, but he would call you out if necessary.

Jesus Didn’t Give TMI

Jesus kept everyone on a “need to know” basis. He often told people to keep his miracles a secret. When the disciples figured out he was the Messiah he told them not to tell anyone. In John 7, Jesus’ brothers tried to get him to go to a festival in Judea to show off. “You can’t become famous if you hide like this!” (John 7:4) Jesus told them he wasn’t going….BUT….after they left, Jesus went to the festival and taught in the temple. Your purpose is to glorify God for the benefit of others. That doesn’t mean you have to give all the details.

Watching The Last Dance not only illuminates the greatness of Air Jordan, but we’re also learning more about the person, Michael. In the same way, when we read our Bibles we learn more about the person of Jesus. Though the song pleads “If I could be like Mike,” nobody is. If we keep studying and keep practicing, we’ll never be just like Jesus. However, if we keep trying to do things the way Jesus did them, we just might become the Kobe Bryant of Jesus followers.

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