Aloe Blacc’s song The Man is one of those songs that besides being popular with general listeners is played constantly in the sports arenas and stadiums where Laura and I work. Should you not know the song from general listening, you most likely have heard it used as background to a series of television commercials for Beats headphones. The well photographed commercials, featuring basketball player Kevin Garnett, quarterback Colin Kaepernick and soccer player Cesc Fabregas, show the athletes donning their Beats to cut out noise from highly dramatized hater fans as they arrive at venues on the road.
Blacc’s powerful refrain in the song is certainly the kind of hook upon which athletes and fans thrive.
Well you can tell everybody – Yeah you can tell everybody – Go ahead and tell everybody – I’m the man – I’m the man – I’m the man.
The verses wrapped around that hook feature lyrics of a man defining himself by standing up, taking whatever blows that come his way and not just surviving but thriving. The power of the song is appealing in the world of athletics. Every team, everywhere is looking for “the man” or “the woman” to
Stand up now and face the sun – Won’t hide my tail or turn and run.
Teams need leaders. It would be hard to argue with parts of that philosophy. I have been, and pray I will continue to be, a standup man during my 63 years on this earth. However, that is where any similarities end, and should end, for those that enjoy the song.
Today, Christians celebrated Palm Sunday, the day Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem with people calling out his name, waving palm branches and laying down their coats along his path of honor. I love the passage from Zechariah 9:9 which foretold this event.
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Even as Jesus rode along on the back of the donkey with praise filling his Beat-less ears, he did so knowing that by Friday, he would be hanging on a cross, suffering and dying at the hands of many of those that praised him on Palm Sunday. Even with that knowledge, Jesus continued on his journey to the cross where he bore the burden of our sins. His death for our sins was the only path to our salvation.
Mercifully, by the dawn of the new week, Jesus’ grave was empty, and our risen Savior had conquered the devil and secured eternal life, far greater than any life here on earth, for all those who believe.
There is a form of belief very popular with many that faith in Christ leads to reward and glory here on earth. Our success in life is a direct reward for our faith and service. This “theology of glory” thrives on our sinful belief that we solely control our lives and God serves only as a way of self-help in our lives and eventually our path to heaven.
Christ, however, asks us in Mark 8:34 to “take up your cross and follow me.” Even as Christ asked us to bear our cross of sin, he knew we cannot because of our sin. That is why God the Father sent his son, Jesus, to bear all our sins and why we need to never lose sight of that cross, our one true theological base.
Remember in Psalm 23, David stated “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me…” We cannot escape that walk, but Christ will be there to bear our burdens with us thanks to that cross.
Each day I wonder how and why my Savior has led me through 63 years in that Valley so wonderfully, while it would seem others walking that same path with our Savior guiding them face far greater challenges in my worldly mind. No, I cannot explain why some men and women are rich, some penniless, some healthy and others infirm, why children live while others die. No one here on earth has those answers even though in the second verse, Blacc sings –
I got all the answers to your questions – I’ll be the teacher you could be the lesson – I’ll be the preacher you be the confession – I’ll be the quick relief to all your stressing
Remember that hook tells us again – I’m the Man.
In the gospel of John, Christ states seven times, “I AM the bread of life.” “I AM the light of the world.” “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” “I AM the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved…” “I AM the good Shepherd.” “I AM the resurrection and the life.” “I AM the way, the truth and the life.” “I AM the true vine.”
That is why when Blacc sings –
It’s time to do what must be done – Be a king when kingdom comes.
– I turn to Christ’s many parables that through their seemingly complex telling define for us over and over the very simple truth that when kingdom does come, there will be only one eternal King. We are completely helpless without our Lord and Savior.
As we ponder all this throughout Holy Week and beyond, may we sing instead.
Christ has the answers to all your questions – Let Him be the teacher through His lessons – He is the preacher, we need to be the confessors – Only Christ can provide the relief to all our stressing.
Well you can tell everybody – Yeah you can tell everybody – Go ahead and tell everybody – He’s the man – He’s the man – He’s the man.