When I was in high school, there was a pretty amazing football game in which the Buffalo Bills were down 32 points against the Houston Oilers and their back up, Frank Reich (who, when looking at that picture, may or may not have also been traveling through time “leaping” into peoples’ bodies so that he could put right what once went wrong and hoping each time that the next leap would be the leap home, but whatever), was brought in due to injury, and he led the team back to win in overtime. It was a pretty special thing. Well, as I’m sure any person my age who attended a youth ministry during that time may remember, after the game Frank quoted from the song “In Christ Alone” (the Christian pop version, not the modern hymn version. Both good songs, though). So, not long after, we are blessed with a music video to “In Christ Alone” sung by Michael English injected with clips from the game and the post-game news conference. Certainly there was about to be revival breaking out across the land. You know what happened?
And then there was a time where famous person X said something about their savior Jesus Christ after they did something great. And another time when famous person Y actually thanked God and credited him with their success in their particular field of awesomeness. And yet, great revival doesn’t seem to break out across the land.
That brings us to yesterday’s Super Bowl. I posted something about how I didn’t understand why people were saying they were “happy” for Ray Lewis after the game since they won. His past (and frankly, his present) would call into question about whether or not he should be playing in the league. Anyway, in the gamut of responses I received, the most disturbing concept came from those who were happy that Ray now had the platform to talk about God. This was surely something that came from the Lord, right?
My big question to them is, “Why?”
Why do you think that the gospel needs a platform?
In our human hearts, for some reason we are constantly seeking some legitimacy to the faith we proclaim to have. We perhaps think that if only there were enough famous people to endorse our religion then there might be revival that would break out. It even often times appears that if we can’t find good enough celebrities, then we will just exalt some of our pastors to celebrity status.
But when you open up the pages of Scripture, we find that it was not in the name or notoriety of the people who shared the good news with those around them. The power is in the gospel itself. Romans 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
The world loves to have a celebrity endorse its platform, whether or not that celebrity is qualified to do so or not. It works for PETA. It works for political candidates. But the gospel is neither one of those. In fact, the Bible tells us something pretty much opposite about how God chooses to work. “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1 Cor. 1:27-29).
Could it be that God’s design for the great spread of the gospel is to bring about notoriety for the gospel itself to spark great revivals instead of relying on already established worldly notoriety? Why do we look to famous public figures and hope that they might be able to “convince” people to come to Christ? Do we not believe what the Scriptures testify to us that God will be faithful in bringing death to life simply when the Spirit quickens a heart and the gospel is proclaimed so that he alone will get all the glory?
Church, believe that the “ordinary” ways that God has ordained for the gospel to be spread, in the pulpit and personal discipleship, is sufficient for a mighty work of the Spirit. Revival is not something we can plan or cause by having the right person come and attach their fame to it. It is only when people humble themselves before the Lord that they truly find abundant life. I promise, your pastor in the pulpit, no matter how “gifted” you think he is, is plenty sufficient in his weakness for a great move of God if he is faithful to the Word.
Stop looking for legitimacy for the gospel in famous people. The death and resurrection of Christ is what gives the good news all the credit it needs. Christians often pity the Jews for the fact that they are still awaiting their messiah to come and save them. But the reality is many of us are not all that different. We’re still looking forward to one who is going to change everything for the good instead of realizing that He has already come and will one day come again.
We already have a Messiah, thank you.