Last week as the media machine celebrated Michael Jordan’s 50th birthday, I heard the question asked, “Will there ever be another Michael?” The careers and accomplishments of players like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James were scrutinized and comparisons were made, but the inevitable conclusion by most commentators is that Michael Jordan is the best ever. What I found most interesting, though, was recalling the uncanny way in which Kobe was able to copy even the smallest nuances of Michael’s game as displayed in Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, a video created on the Kobe Bryant – Our Legend Facebook page. Is Kobe truly the second coming of MJ? Most NBA experts say “no,” but it sure can be deceiving!
How often are basketball coaches looking for the next . . .? The next Michael? The next all-conference player? It’s common for college recruiters to compare prospects to great players they’ve seen before or for high school coaches to anticipate the development of a player in their feeder programs developing into the next high school all-star. Even though every player is different, coaches and fans fall into the trap of comparisons and the hope of the next great player. Some are able to live up to it, but tragically many are not, and a disservice is done to them
Aren’t we all looking for the next great thing or even the return of something great from the past? We flock to remakes of great movies and debate which version was better. We compare our political leaders to those of the past and hope the next one can restore programs from the past. And many times, rather than appreciate what we have and what we experience in the present, we long for things of the past. We compare what we have now with what we had then and we hope and long for those times when the new version surpasses the original.
For Christians, we don’t have to ask if there will ever be another Jesus. We can read the scripture and marvel at the life of sacrifice, perfection, and mercy He lived and be certain that it will never be duplicated – even though voices in our world will doubt and question or even attempt to mislead and confuse us. We’ll be told that Jesus is a myth or that we should place our trust in other things like political leaders, government programs, and the advancement of mankind through technology and tolerance of new morality. Jesus told His disciples and He tells us in Matthew 24 to be alert for when He returns. Many who will be looking for the next big thing may miss Him. They may be misled, but fortunately in the end, we will know that it truly is Jesus (v. 30):
30 “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.
While basketball fans ask if there will ever be another Michael or continue to compare Kobe and Michael or LeBron and Michael, we as Christians can live confidently and expectantly that Jesus will return. And when He does, we won’t have to play the comparison game – we’ll know it!