The “untimely” death of Kobe Bryant

I don’t usually publish two posts in one day, but yesterday’s news prompted me to put together some brief thoughts this morning.

As I’m sure most of you have heard, Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, and seven others died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California yesterday. Our non-believing oldest son called me yesterday afternoon to give me the breaking news.

41-year-old, Kobe Bryant was a living sports legend. He was such a gifted athlete that he was drafted into the National Basketball Association right out of high school. In his twenty-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, he led the team to five championships and accumulated multiple individual honors. Kobe is widely recognized as one of the NBA’s top-ten greatest players of all time. While he was blessed with extraordinary athletic talent, he was appreciated by teammates, opponents, and fans alike for his “take no prisoners,” razor-focused, “Black Mamba” persona, to be the best in the game.

The world worships its sports heroes and the sudden death of Bryant shocked people across the globe. The extensive television coverage of Kobe’s untimely death and the mournful adulation of his fans was a phenomenon by itself.

If Kobe had died when he was seventy-five or eighty-five, it would not have been such a HUGE deal, but his early, accidental death is a shocking reminder that we are all mortal. God’s Word, the Bible, says this is a fallen world and that we are all sinners. The wages of sin is death, both physical and spiritual. But God the Father loves us so much He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross. Jesus didn’t stay dead, but rose from the grave, defeating sin and death, and now offers the free gift of eternal life to all those who repent (turn from sinful rebellion against God) and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone.

Kobe accomplished much in his short life, but he was also caught in some embarrassing indiscretions as most public figures are in this era of unyielding scrutiny. Did Kobe ever accept Jesus Christ as his Savior?

Some people achieve great fame because of talent and/or ambition. Most people in this world receive no notoriety. Rich and famous or poor and obscure, we must all stand before God someday. Will you be standing before God covered in the imputed, perfect righteousness of the Savior, Jesus Christ, or will you be standing before God covered in your sins and tainted self-righteousness? Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior now! Don’t wait! Early yesterday morning, Kobe probably didn’t have a care in the world, yet his life was over in seconds.

I will be mentioning Kobe’s untimely death in conversation with our unbelieving sons who love sports, but can’t be bothered with spiritual matters.

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” – Proverbs 27:1

“For he says, ‘In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” – 2 Corinthians 6:2

24 thoughts on “The “untimely” death of Kobe Bryant

    1. Thanks, Sally. Yes, the families of all of the nine victims are experiencing great pain because of this tragic accident. While it wasn’t my intent to exploit the victims and gloss over the sufferings of the families, incidents like this one are opportunities for lost souls to consider their own mortality and to think about their own sinful state and absolute need of the Savior.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. RE: However, we should never judge whose souls are lost.

        Sally, as I mentioned a couple of times previously, I don’t sit in the seat of God Almighty with the knowledge of who has accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone and who has not. But any religious organization that teaches that merit is a part of salvation is not preaching the Gospel of grace and I am duty bound to speak out against it as the Scriptures compel me to. I am duty bound to warn members of works-righteousness religious institutions that they are following a false gospel. A person who is genuinely trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone will be convicted by the Holy Spirit to leave a false church that teaches a person must merit their salvation.

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    1. Thank you very much, sister! This tragic news hit my oldest one hard. He called me on my cell phone about 20 minutes after leaving our house. It will be bridge to spiritual matters in future discussions.

      Liked by 4 people

  1. This is the truth. We mortals tend to live in denial of the fact that we are literally just one heartbeat away from eternity. Death is something that happens only to the very old. “Untimely,” early death is something that only happens to “other” people. These people are just names in a newspaper, names in an obituary column. These people scarcely seem real to us. Until it happens to someone close to us, or to a household name, like Kobe Bryant.

    My very precious stepdaughter is in her forties. She grew up in California, in a neighborhood like Kobe Bryant grew up in. She met him about about a dozen or so years ago, when she took her three daughters to an event. She got his jersey, signed by Kobe. I remember her telling me how gracious he was, how kind he was to her and her little girls. She had treasured that jersey. But it was stolen not long after, by an addict cousin that she had taken into her home, trying to help get him straight. She’s that kind of person, always trying to help.

    My stepdaughter had major surgery on January 17. I stayed with her the first six days, then I had to come back home, to take my husband, her dad, to have an invasive, painful medical procedure. Both my stepdaughter and my husband were suspected of having cancer. We got the news on Friday, nothing in the massive 2 pounds of tumors that were removed from my stepdaughter’s chest and throat was cancerous, and my husband does not have bladder cancer. Praise the Lord!

    But it’s been a rough couple of weeks. And when I woke up yesterday and saw the news about my stepdaughter’s favorite sports hero being killed, I was concerned. How would she take this? Did she need me to drive the sixty miles back to her house, to stay with her again?

    I talked to her on the phone, and she was doing okay. “I believe that Kobe knew Jesus,” said my born-again, daughter of my heart. “When I met him that one time, when we talked face to face, he had that kind of light in him. He had that kind of heart. Yes, he messed up at times, like we all do. But he was sorry for his mistakes, and he tried to make things right. I really do believe he knew the Lord.”

    I hope she is right. We never know when we will take our last breath, and when our heart will beat for the very last time. In the dozen years since I have discovered blogs, several of my favorite bloggers have died. One was only in her twenties.

    Today is the day of salvation. Today, before it’s too late.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. LL, thanks for all the good comments! Praise God for the good news regarding your stepdaughter and husband! I rejoice with you! Yes eternity is just one heartbeat away and most people work overtime trying to put that thought out of their mind. The “untimely” death of a celebrity really shakes them up as you said.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Yesterday I peeked in on Twitter. At the top was something about Kobe Bryant and his daughter, among others, dying in a helicopter crash.

    I am notorious for being clueless on famous people, and in keeping with that, I had no idea who Kobe Bryant was. Because there was mention of a child, my curiosity was piqued and I looked him up. I saw he was involved in professional basketball and his young daughter was with him at the time of his death.

    My next search terms were “Kobe Bryant religion”, as that seems to be the way the internet yields info on whether or not a celebrity has affiliations with Christ. Sadly, right at the top of the results was something saying that he was a practicing Roman Catholic. But who knows, maybe before he went off on his helicopter flight he was scared of the dangers and unknowns in air travel and thought of something someone somewhere wrote or said about faith in Christ alone being the only way to heaven. Maybe he prayed along the lines of “Dear God, I have heard that Jesus gave His life for me so I can have eternal life. I believe that. Please keep us safe on this flight, but if that is not your will, I’ll see you in heaven.”

    I guess we won’t know who all will be in heaven till we’re there. Some who knew me before I was saved, who went to be with the Lord, might be surprised to see me there, as I might be surprised to see many I never expected!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Steeny. I follow several sports casually so I knew all about Kobe. Yup, I knew he was a Roman Catholic because he was very public about it. As you mentioned, I think there are some Catholics who so despair of their own efforts to merit salvation, as their church prescribes, that they finally prostrate themselves before Jesus and ask Him to save them like the publican in Luke 18:9-14. I’m guessing many Catholics have come to Christ on their deathbed, in spite of what their church has taught them.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The tone of this blog post seems terribly unnecessary and judgmental. Someone’s personal convictions are someone’s personal convictions. Having grown up a Southern Baptist and having left that particular denomination for quite a few reasons, it always saddens me how judgmental “Christians” can be. The quotation marks are intentional.

    Whether you believe Kobe was a man of faith or not is irrelevant. Whether you like or dislike which denomination he attended (it was reported he visited church at 7 A.M. prior to his death) is irrelevant. Why is that? Because you knew him as well as I did, which is to say, not at all, outside of his public persona.

    It was common to grab for individuals following a death in the Southern Baptist church from which I was raised. While this may work, because death has the ability to bring immediate attention to one’s life and the fragility of it, it’s fleeting. Death and extreme grief pass. It’s the daily moments of life and living that bring one closer to God.

    When I read this post, I was immediately reminded of what turns off so many from Christianity and religion in general.

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    1. Jeffrey, a genuine follower of Jesus Christ would have liked this post.

      “Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?” Galatians 4:16

      150,000 people die every single day. I must tell people now that they are sinners in desperate need of the Savior. People try to put out of their minds their approaching death, but the accident involving Kobe Bryant shakes them from their denial.

      I don’t know if Kobe accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior before he died, but whether he’s in Heaven or hell, Kobe would very much want me to post the message I posted.

      “Whoever believes (trusts) in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” – John 3:36

      Like

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