One of my favorite recordings is of Johnny Cash covering the Depeche Mode song “Personal Jesus” (not real crazy about Marilyn Manson’s version). I’m not exactly sure what this song is about, but it reminds me of the often asked question; “Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior?”. Although firmly believing that a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus should be a goal of Christian faith, I wonder at times if this concept has been overplayed.
When I step back and look at my life, how I relate to others, what my priorities are, where my focus lies – I see something that looks like a movie with yours truly in the starring role. Competing for space on the marquee are 6 billion other movies, each one with its own headline performer standing in a very small spotlight. Sort of like the Truman Show in reverse. In that movie everyone really was watching Truman as he actually was the unwitting star of his own television show. But in our world everyone sees themselves as the star of the Big Picture, with the rest of humanity merely walk-ons. Each of us takes center stage in our own little dramas, convincing ourselves that others are just as fascinated with our performance as we are.
Then Jesus walks onto the set and suggests that perhaps we are not quite the Oscar material we think we are. He cancels all our little productions and recasts us all into a much bigger, much better picture. We all vie for his attention, constantly auditioning for better roles, but that apparently is not what he has in mind for us. He hands us a new script that has been heavily reworked. Not only are none of us to be stars, we are all relegated to the role of bit actors. God is the star of this picture, he gets top billing. In order to insure the success of this epic production, Jesus directs us to set aside all our vanities and petty rivalries and begin working together. Scene stealing is no longer acceptable, being upstaged no longer a concern, as we now are performing only to an audience of One.
Jesus himself underscores the importance of this new script by becoming the consummate supporting player. He shuns the grand scene-chewing scenes that are his for the asking and instead takes on the role of servant and supplicant. In one very important aspect he becomes the sole supporting actor for all of mankind.
Over-emphasizing the importance of our own personal salvation through Jesus’ sacrifice tends to place us in the spotlight once again. Although we should never lose our sense of gratitude for what he has done for us, let’s also not forget that he did what he did for the whole world as well.