I’m a celebrity, get me out of here!

30 Mar

im_a_celebrity_get_me_out_of_here_logoWhat’s your own particular phobia? Being trapped in a plastic box with buckets of fire ants and meal-worms crawling all over you? A transparent plastic globe full of spiders fixed round your head? (Could almost be Winston from Orwell’s 1984 with his rat cage.) Swimming with snakes and crocodiles, getting your fingers nipped by crabs, being dangled upside down over a 70 foot precipice? Or what about drinking liquidised grubs or eating a kangaroo penis (very chewy, by all accounts)? What on earth is it that makes “celebs” subject themselves to these and other “trials” and come out declaring it to have been the best experience of their lives?

Who knows! But there is one thing that is clear – pushed beyond their limits, they all know that at any point, if need be, they can simply shout out “I’m a celebrity, get me out of here” and within seconds it will all be over. Yes, they will then have some explaining to do to their fellow camp-mates, but… everyone is so understanding and receives them with deep empathy (to their face anyway – later private conversations and confession room recordings reveal a host of different feelings). It’s okay, you didn’t have to go through it, no harm was done and no one will think any less of you. We know the jungle’s hard work – you’re a celeb, just hit the panic button when you can’t take any more, who wouldn’t?

Good Friday, celebrated today, was Jesus’ potential “I’m a celebrity, get me out of here” moment.

No one made him walk that path. Just the previous night, he’d been talking to his Father, honestly saying how he really did not want to go that way, but… He would endure the suffering that awaited him. Shortly after, as the rabble approached through the darkness and a scuffle broke out, he was quick to rebuke one over-zealous disciple in particular – Peter (who else!), “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” This was, after all, a trial he had chosen to embrace. “Do you think I cannot call on my Father,” Jesus continued, “and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?”

In other words, I’m the Son of God, get me out of here. But no. He chose to drink the cup to the dregs.

the-passion-of-the-christ_60A harrowing Passover night of torture, unregulated trial and unjust conviction led to his execution on Rome’s favourite instrument for deterrent and punishment of opponents of the state. Naked for all to see, Jesus found himself slowly dying, nailed to a rough wooden cross, and according to his own people’s law, cursed by God himself. Ant & Dec didn’t take long to appear – you can end this trial at any time, any time you want to, you just have to say the words, and you’ll be out in a jiffy.

“He saved others, but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.” …

“Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” …

“He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” …

“You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”

I guess there was never any real doubt what he’d do – he’d sorted that out in his heart the previous night. As the darkness closed in on him and his life ebbed away, “it is finished” he said and passed away. It is finished. The trial is over – and the reward has been won: not a few plastic stars that guarantee one evening’s meals for his fellow contestants, but friendship with his Father for ever, making all things new and clearing the way back to God for all of humanity, for all eternity.

Maybe back then, he wasn’t really that much of a celebrity, but he certainly is now. His was no bush-tucker trial, but you know, I’m honestly so glad he stuck it out.

 

Photo credits: itv.com; The Passion of the Christ

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