The Day Kobe Bryant Died – Reflection on Death in Modern Times
Sunday, January 26, 2020 will long be remembered, at least in the near future in America, as the day Kobe Bryant died. My family and I returned home from lunch after a morning of worship at our church and learned of his death.
A lot of people took to social media to…
- See if the news was accurate
- Share shock and sadness
- Share bitter hatred
- Seek emotional catharsis
I tried to find confirmation and looked at Twitter first. It seemed it wouldn’t load at times. I opened Facebook and entered a fan group for my favorite team, the Milwaukee Bucks. At first people complained that people posted fake news and cussed those posting it. Then it became clear that Kobe died.
My wife asked me to turn on the news so we fired up YouTube TV. We watched the news and learned about the death. Then we tried to find the details. How many people died? Who was with Kobe? Did his fell ex-Laker Rick Fox die with him? Was it 1, 2, 3 or all four of his daughters? Was his wife with him? Was he flying the helicopter?
Kobe Bryant’s Death and Surprising Emotions
Most celebrity deaths come and go and I don’t get to worked up. However, this one seemed different because Kobe Bryant was a legendary star. My son and I tried to compare this to other sports figures or other celebrities. What if Tom Hanks suddenly died? The death of Reggie White hit me because I loved him as a Packer fan. He was my favorite player during the 90s. NASCAR fans remember when Dale Earnhardt died at Daytona 20 years ago. We watched it happen and the wreck didn’t look that bad, but then we found out after the race he was gone.
Kobe’s death didn’t hit me that hard at first until I learned that he had a newborn that would now have to grow up without dad. As a father my emotion bubbled to the surface. His three younest daughters will never be able to seek their dad for advice, support, encouragment and love. His wife will have to raise their girls without him. That hit me!
I lost my dad a little over a year ago, but I had 49 years with him. My mom died ten years ago. I got 40 years with her.
Kobe Bryant’s Eternal Destiny
After thinking about Kobe’s daughters and wife, I considered his eternity. People are saying, “Rest in Peace.” Often people say, “She’s in a better place” as they discuss the death of someone they love.
But will Kobe rest in peace and is he in a better place. I saw one post from a person I know who talked about his rap accusation. That disqualified him for eternal peace in the mind of this person. Did it?
I believe that Jesus Christ came to repair a broken relationship between God the Father and His creation. We are all sinners. We make mistakes and my lies are no worse than rape or adultery. We all deserve punishment. However, I thankfully learned the good news about Jesus Christ. He forgives sins for anyone who believes and repents of their sins committing their lives to Jesus.
Did Kobe ever believe?
The above post showed that he had an opportunity. There was hope that he was telling the truth, but we never heard an open and passionate testimony of his faith in Jesus like we got from people like Russel Wilson, Tim Tebow and Reggie White.
The above Tweet showed up in a Daily Wire post about Kobe’s Catholic faith. Read that article and you’ll learn that after Kobe was accuse din 2003 of rape, he turned to his life-long Catholic faith for strength. He admitted the sexual encounter with the woman, but denied he raped her. During the legal case he consulted a priest for advice.
Apparently that mistake led him to make a change in his behavior and renewed his faith. I hope so.
How Do We Know
It’s hard to know whether some people are truly saved. I remember talked to a friend about his faith. I shared Jesus’ parable of the sower from Matthew 13. In that story, Jesus compared the people who hear the Gospel to soil. A farmer sowed seed in four kinds of soil…
- Path – represents those who reject the Gospel outright saying the seed burned up and died without sprouting roots.
- Rocky Soil – represents those who hear the Gospel and seem to accept it but quickly give up on the faith since seed does sprout but doesn’t put roots into the ground.
- Thorny Soil – represents the hearer who listens and seems to repent and believe because they even try to live a Christian life for awhile but they give up when the cares of the word distract them from their faith because the seed sprouts and begins to grow but the weeds and thorns choke the life out of the plant.
- Good Soil – this seed sprouts and grows producing a lot of fruit 30, 60 or 100 times over.
As I shared this story with my friend I said that the first kind of soil represents the people who clearly don’t believe and are destined to eternity without Christ. The last kind of soil represents those who obviously do believe and as well as we can know are saved. The issue comes with those who may fall into the two middle groups.
I asked my friend which soil he was and he said he was the rocky soil. That’s the kind of soil we can’t know for sure about their faith or salvation. Therefore, we can’t know about their eternal destiny. So, we prayed and he found assurance and promised Jesus he would do his best to repent and bear good fruit. I pray he will follow through and at this point has.
It’s not my place to judge Kobe Bryant. Some say he found a deep faith and attended mass regularly. He did a lot of good with the wealth he amassed in his basketball career. I hope I’ll get to see him in heaven.
What About You?
The real question is not about Kobe. Maybe he was a believer and maybe God saved him and welcomed him into eternity on January 26, 2020. However, will you? Which soil are you? Do you know for sure that God will welcome you into eternity because you have…
- Admitted you are a sinner and asked forgiveness for your sins.
- Believed that Jesus died for you and rose again and he’s alive today ready to forgive your sins.
- Committed to repent and live for Jesus as best you can from this point till the day you die or Jesus comes back.
I’d love to talk more with you about this. You can contact me via email or on Twitter @kapurcell.