WHO DESERVES THE NOBEL PRIZE?

dylan-and-obamaDid you take note that Bob “Rolling Stone” Dylan has just won the Nobel Prize for Literature? Even the Nobel Prize people want to get on board with pop culture, although by selecting Bob Dylan they are still about 50 years behind schedule. You see, the Nobel Prize committee selecting stellar individuals in a range of fields is trying to avoid the derogatory “elitist” label. They give their prestigious awards to distinguished intellectuals, scientists, writers, and political action types that 99.9% of the world’s population never heard of. Many of the masses of people are wondering why Brittany Spears, David Hasselhoff, or Bono never won a Nobel Prize.

Barack Obama, the peoples’ choice for President, had served in office for less than nine months when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. Although many may wonder where in the world he brought peace, the Nobel Prize Committee decided that he made some wonderful overtures to Muslims (perhaps they were thinking of his Cairo speech apologizing for the USA).  Considering that the Middle East has exploded during his presidency and that the “Arab Spring” has been an “Arab Conflagration” would seem to indicate that their award to BHO was premature.

However, the greatest peacemaker who ever lived, Jesus Christ, never received the Nobel Prize. And, surprise of surprises, those of us who follow Him don’t care. Although he literally raised the dead and caused the blind to see, He also did not receive the prize in medicine. Although His teachings and especially the Sermon on the Mount are the loftiest and most sublime expressions ever uttered on planet Earth, He never received the Nobel Prize for literature. And how could he? Even if Nobel Prizes were awarded posthumously (which their rules prohibit), He would not be eligible because He continues to live seated at the right hand of the Father.

Jesus cannot be charged with elitism like the Nobel Prize Committee because His followers were not famous Jews or famous Romans; many were poor fishermen or tentmakers. They were unknown and eschewed fame or notoriety. Although he was thronged by people shouting hosanna, Jesus himself was not embraced by the cultural elite as Bob Dylan and Barack Obama have been.  The cultural elite reads into Bob and Barack’s respective successes gifts which neither possess.

Looking at all the conflict in our world, one may wisely ask who could be nominated for this prize? Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” (John 14:27)   Yet, in another verse, he said “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10: 34) You see, the peace He brings is not just the absence of war – that’s the world’s idea of political peace (unless of course you are Pres. Obama who has actually increased hostilities). Or, if you are a psychologist, you might see “peace of mind” as the absence of compulsions, neurotic adjustment mechanisms, angry outbursts, hysterical fits, repetitive meaningless behaviors, phobias, anxiety, etc. Peace than becomes calm or equanimity, and becomes first cousin to detachment, the ability to have perspective in situations rather than succumb to an emotional reaction based, primarily, on self-interest or jealousy or fear or experienced neediness.

However, Jesus actually won the peace prize for all times because the peace He offers goes beyond any of the above categories.  His peace is the deepest peace that comes from knowing (not just believing) that if we receive Him we shall not wake up one day in Hell.  We shall escape the coming Judgment and will be counted among the sheep when He comes again.

The Lord’s servants and supplicants followed him and continue to do so without fame or fortune.  Of course, there are still some Christians, like Tim Tebow, who are bowing down before their Holy God in public places where tens of thousands in person or millions on TV can see their commitment to the Prince of Peace. But most of us bow down in our prayer closet. And the book of Hebrews gives the Nobel Prizes of faith to many who were stoned or hid in caves as they followed true peace.

Christ’s peace is not the peace of the psychologists, nor is it the political peace that means absence of war. It is not a peace related either to fame or to anonymity. His peace is one of eternal forgiveness and mercy, where we walk safely with Our Lord and Savior over the flames of torment without fear of falling in. We joined with Him, and thus walk in a deep spiritual joy anticipating singing “a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders [in heaven].” (Revelation 14:3)

 

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