I carefully maneuvered my car into the automated car wash, aligning my wheels with the rollers.
“Put the car in neutral and take your feet off the brakes.”
The attendant went through his perfunctory paces and handed my receipt back to me. He had a Lakers jacket on and as he waved me through, I remarked, “Go Kobe!”
He stopped and smiled. “Go Kobe!” He echoed.
“First game back for the Lakers tonight.”
He nodded and sighed. “I know, I wanted to go there but I have to work.”
We looked at each other, undoubtedly thinking the same thoughts. I fist-pumped him. “Kobe was the best!”
Returning my fist pump, he grinned, “Kobe forever! You have a great day, sir.”
The news stunned the world. Basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others were killed in a tragic helicopter crash. The outpouring of tributes and emotions was unprecedented. Numerous professional sports teams paid special tributes to Kobe. A frequent posting on social media was, “R.I.P.” From a car wash, to the workplace, to family discussions, one could not go anywhere without mentioning or hearing his name and his career. During this immediate period after his death, it began conversations throughout the world, one that transcended his role as a basketball player. For a brief period, It united people and many put aside their differences and petty concerns and focused upon the meaning of these deaths. Over two thousand years ago, another death shocked the world and everyone was also talking about it.
And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.”
Luke 24:17-21 (ESV)
As recorded in the Gospel written by Dr. Luke, these two men, walking on the road to Emmaus, were devastated by the Crucifixion. Blinded by their despair and sadness, they were initially unaware that they were conversing with the resurrected Jesus Christ. In a short time after this, Jesus revealed Himself to them, dispelling their fears and gloom, and giving them hope in this life.
When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
Luke 24:30-32 (ESV)
The tragic deaths of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven others remind us that life is unpredictable. Death is always tragic but it can be a way to bring people together. God did this through the death of Jesus Christ who showed all of us that while death is tragic, it is not hopeless. The resurrection of Jesus Christ proved that He conquered death. For all who confess and repent of their sins and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, death is a transition into eternity and salvation with God in Heaven. If we do this, when we die, we will truly rest in peace, secure in the bosom of Jesus Christ.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.