By Doug Redford
Most people are familiar with the term “bucket list,” which describes a list of things a person wants to accomplish (places to visit, people to see, etc.) before they “kick the bucket,” or die. The term became part of the popular vocabulary because of the 2007 movie The Bucket List, which chronicles the exploits of two terminally ill men who formulate a bucket list and then try to accomplish everything on the list before they die.
Anyone who enjoys televised sports will likely recognize the name of longtime CBS Sports announcer Jim Nantz. Spring is a special time of the year for Nantz. This year he will call the national broadcast for the Final Four men’s basketball tournament for his 32nd year, after which he will step down from that duty. (By the way, today is “Selection Sunday” for the tournament.)
A few days after the men’s tournament, Nantz will travel to Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia to cover the Masters Tournament. This year will mark his 38th Masters. Nantz also has done play-by-play for the Super Bowl. Someone has observed that this man lives what amounts to a bucket list, covering these outstanding sports events year after year.
As Immanuel (God with us), Jesus Christ lived an extraordinary life. John wrote that it would be impossible for the world’s books to record all the amazing things he did (John 21:25). No doubt, if the term “bucket list” had been in vogue in the first century, many people would have placed “listening to Jesus” or “seeing Jesus do a miracle” on their list.
But Jesus himself had one main item on his bucket list. That item was announced to Joseph before Jesus’ birth: “He will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Jesus spoke of that purpose on other occasions, especially as he approached Jerusalem after three years of ministry. He had come “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). He was here “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Every human being was on Jesus’ bucket list; he came to die for “the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2), and he, one might say, “crossed” that item off his list.
Many of us put together a “to-do” list at the beginning of a day or week to help us prioritize what we need to accomplish. Communion provides us a time to reflect upon Jesus’ “to-die” list—and to remember that each of us was on that list.
Doug Redford has served in the preaching ministry, as an editor of adult Sunday school curriculum, and as a Bible college professor. Now retired, he continues to write and speak as opportunities come.