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Dr. James C. Denison
President, Center for Informed Faith, Dallas, TX
April 22, 2011

Do bad things happen to good people?
Who is the most influential person in the world? According to the “Time 100,” just released on the magazine’s website, #1 is a person none of us had heard of last year. Hints: He is from Egypt, working for Google in Dubai. He made a Facebook page which changed the world. Still not sure? His name is Wael Ghonim. His page in memory of a slain Egyptian named Khalid Said sparked the protests in Egypt which led to the removal of Hosni Mubarak and the movements sweeping the Middle East.

Who is #2? Joseph Stiglitz, the economist. Barack Obama came in at #86, 64 places below his wife. He is ranked five places below actor Mark Wahlberg and 47 places below Justin Bieber. Last year’s Mr. Obama ranked #4. But it could be worse; last year’s #1, Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, isn’t even on this year’s list.

I didn’t find my name anywhere on the “Time 100.” If you’re there, please let the rest of us know. But if you’re as non-famous as me, take heart: if Jesus is your Lord, your name is in the “Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 20:15). You made God’s top 100. On this Good Friday 20 centuries ago, he considered your eternal life worth the tortured death of his Son.

We’ve been asking ourselves why an all-loving, all-powerful, all-knowing God would allow a world like ours. Award-winning photojournalists Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros were killed Wednesday in Libya—they did nothing to deserve their deaths. Water pumped over damaged fuel rods in Japan is becoming heavily contaminated as it fills storage tanks—the Japanese did nothing to deserve this crisis. Why do bad things happen to good people?

Here’s a different answer to our question. In response to yesterday’s essay, Bethany wrote: “‘Why do bad things happen to good people? That only happened once and He volunteered.’ R.C. Sproul Jr.” Why did Jesus choose to die on the first Good Friday?

Paul explained: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree'”(Galatians 3:13). Peter added: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24). The Message translates Hebrews 10:14: “It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people.”

What will you do today to thank the One who died for you? Please share your Good Friday plans and reflections with the rest of us. And remember: while you may never make the “Time 100,” fame is fickle but eternity is forever.

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