Sunday, February 10, 2013

Finding Jesus in Bieber

Jesus of Nazareth was conceived before his parents were married.  He was born to a poor family in a poor town.  His situation was desperate.  His father died when he was young, and most of the parenting responsibilities fell on his mother.  They noticed there was something special about him.

Justin Bieber was born to his 17 year old unmarried mother.  A year later his dad left them.  She raised him with the help of her parents.  They noticed there was something special about him.

When he was 12, the people began to realize that Jesus wasn't like everyone else.  The priests and elders and religious leaders of his day were shocked by his questions, his answers, his ideas.

When he was 12, Justin Bieber begun to shock the world through his YouTube account.  He posted videos of his singing, drumming, his music.  The music industry leaders were amazed by his talant, his good looks, and his influence.

Today Justin Bieber has 55 million followers on Facebook and 33 million followers on Twitter.  Today, Jesus Christ has an even bigger following (whether you count his followers here in the United States or around the world).  

I see a picture of Jesus Christ in Justin Bieber.  

Take his fans, for example.  They call themselves "Bieberlers" and flock to his concerts and social media accounts in droves.  In fact I heard that Twitter has racks of servers dedicated to Justin Bieber, and am certain that Facebook and other social networks must have the same.  While the industry was trying to figure out how to market Justin's music, they discovered that his online presence, this organic group of Biberlers would make him one of the top celebrities of our time.  While they were trying their old tried and true (marketing, business) ways, Bieber connected himself with incredible effectiveness to those who had made this discovery of him, to those who felt a sense of ownership and pride in that discovery.

It is the same for those who truly discover Christ for themselves.  They take personal ownership of this new spark of understanding, and like a seed that goes into replication, they begin to walk in a time of miracles.  They are born into a new reality, and with this new reality comes an awareness of Jesus, they begin to tap into this organic network all focused on one person, the one that God gave all power, all dominion, all authority in heaven and on earth.  And they don't care if a million or a billion people already follow Him.  They become captivated with this one, and cannot look away, cannot betray their discovery or His love.

Bieber was young, and he represented something new.  He reminds me of what I would picture Adam to have been like: full of energy, passion and love.  He has a hopeless affinity for making his fans feel special.  He drops in on them unexpectedly, he randomly picks a girl from the crowd to sing to her that she is "one less lonely girl."  He plays for a concert of 300,000 in Mexico ... for free.  

And that reminds me of another thing.  His focus.  His focus isn't on himself.  His focus is on his fans.  He loves his fans, and doesn't allow himself the luxury to consider himself.  Jesus constantly reminded his followers to consider others before themselves, and then went on to demonstrate it with his sacrifice, being willing to lay his life down for them.  Justin sends "his people" outside the stadium before his concerts to give away tickets to front row seats, to those who don't have a seat.  Jesus told a parable of a banquet where those who were invited were given wedding clothes and brought into places of honor.  "Go out into the streets and find those who are poor and wretched, give them wedding clothes and bring them in!"

And the fans ... these Bieberlers ... what are they like?  They are fanatical, they are all in love with their musical idol.  They don't even hold it against one another that they all love him.  They don't try to compete against one another, their focus is on one person.  They aren't focused on one another.  They don't see anyone other than their super star.  That reminds me not of those who compete for position, or regale others in tales of their own glory.  No, it reminds instead me of those who only have a vision for one person, so in love with that one, they cannot see anyone else.  It reminds me of story after story that I've read or watched on the silver screen about a young man and a young women who are so deeply in love that they are willing to give up everything for one another, do irrational things, go to the ends of the earth and even abandon their own ideals and dreams to be with the one they love.  Like the woman who cannot think of anyone other than her man, the woman so captivated that she cannot sit still at the thoughts running through her head, so is the bride of Christ, the people of God who are called by his name.  With eyes for only one, it is hard to see anything else!

There is a startling picture of Jesus Christ in not just every superstar, but a surprising image for us to look at.  If your eyes were opened you would see His wonders every day, the demonstration of the miracle of the true super star of the universe in every moment.  Can you see it?  Are you awake to the existence of this reality?  Every story whispers His name, everything in all creation is a parable.  Don't miss them, they're all around you. 

I'll leave you with this: I highly recommend you watch the movie, "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never" ... and look for Jesus Christ in this movie.  It's free on Amazon Prime and may be available on Netflix as well.  Watch it ... even if you aren't in to pop stars (trust me, I'm not!).  

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