A few weeks ago an athlete known to most died along with several others which included his daughter in a helicopter crash.  Many tributes poured in from far all over since he was quite popular. He was eulogized in extraordinary ways, at times to mythical proportions.  His legacy was founded mostly on the basketball court where few could match his prowess between the painted lines. But not all was well. Some hinted at a complicated legacy, a few oblique references to “Colorado” left us with an uneasy feeling that not all was rosy during his glory days.   Decades earlier, Kobe had been criminally charged with rape, and though he denied it at the time, he did pay the nineteen year old woman a sum of a million dollars in a civil settlement. The criminal charges never came to a court of law. He later admitted that though he thought his sexual encounter with the complainant was consensual, in hindsight he did not think that she had consented to it.      

   Winning ways and wealth seems to make bad things go away.   Other high profile athletes have had similar run-ins with the law and sought a resolution in similar ways.    It seems that the media together with a zealous fan base are quite willing to look past immoral dealings, to keep their heroes intact and untarnished.   Good behaviour off the field seems to be of less interest these days. often seen as insignificant, becoming a footnote to an otherwise celebrated life. Just think how much putting a ball through a hoop, or throwing a pass or kicking a ball better than most anyone else has come to mean more than that time-honoured decency off the field we once saw as important.  

   Centuries ago, a man came into the the public’s eye living honestly, doing good,  caring for the sick and lame, often forgiving people`s sins, and restoring broken lives.   Some mocked His claims of deity, and others doubted He could be who He claimed He was. Christ was not deterred.  He continued to minister to all those that came to Him, He lived among the common folk travelling with His disciples, healed lepers, brought hope to the downtrodden, and befriended those who were hated.  The religious rulers accused Him falsely before the courts, where trumped-up charges were laid, since no moral or legal wrong could be found. Christ was condemned and put Him to death.  

  By and large, few wish to emulate Jesus Christ in our day.   During His lifetime, His Name remained unsullied even under great persecution.  His life was spotless. There was ample reason to be convinced, that He was the long awaited Savior that they had waited for.  Yet, they would chose to release a prisoner instead and convict a thoroughly righteous man.  

   Today, our permissive society acts much in the same way.  Distilling evil for good; often dismissing moral rectitudes as little more than blimps on a screen that disappears after a while.   Our fascination with heroes warps our ability to see what we should value as truly essential. Consider the Name that is above every name, whether on earth or heaven, that Jesus Christ alone is worthy of our praise and worship!  In the book of Hebrews, the author makes a point to look at many Old Testament figures and concludes that none of them can compare to Christ. On another front, Paul wrote these words to the Philippians:

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil.2:9-11

   Really, there is only one real champion today and He resides in heaven.  Only He can claim to have lived an upright life whose status remained stellar and untarnished and will one day return for His Believers.   Are you ready for that? Do you value what He has done for us on Calvary? If you do, place personal trust in Him alone and seek forgiveness of your sins.   

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, by which we must be saved.  Acts 4:14

May the Lord lead you to trust Him today!

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