I don’t know about anyone else, but I was thrilled to see the show, 24, come back on the air. I remember when the first season of 24 came out—I was hooked. For me, it is easy to get hooked with the 24-hour day format, the intense drama and suspense, and the unstoppable hero, Jack Bauer. Jack Bauer is sort of like the Chuck Norris of the 21st Century. You don’t want to mess with Jack Bauer—even the dark is afraid of Jack. [Ok, I know, that was lame]. As I have begun watching season 9, I cannot help but to draw some similarities between the character of Jack Bauer and (true) Christian Discipleship. Here are six similarites, in no particular order, between the character of Jack Bauer and what true Christian discipleship should be.
- Jack is serious about his calling. Whether Jack is officially working for the government, or a government fugitive, he believes his duty is to protect the United States and her leaders, and hold people accountable for their injustices.
- Jack is sacrificial about his calling. He willingly offers his life for the sake of others. In fact, he is willing to break the law and break policy to save others, as well as to subject himself to the consequences. He relinquishes his freedom for the sake of others’ freedom.
- Jack is determined to complete the mission. I think this is one of the things that resonate with me. It doesn’t matter how tough, difficult, costly the mission, Jack is determined to see it through. And he is willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish the mission.
- Jack is caring towards others. Throughout the seasons, he cares about those around him, both his family and his friends. Not only that, I always find it odd that when he holds innocent people hostage he is so cordial and nice to them. He says, “please,” and “thank you.” I could only imagine if that was real life what would be going through people’s minds.
- Jack is seen as both a blessing and a curse, a traitor and a patriot. Since his allegiance is to his calling (mentioned above) there are times where the U.S. government sees him as a threat and a nuisance; then when all the dust settles, and disaster is avoided (because of Jack), they thank him personally, privately, or from a distance.
- Jack is offensive against the enemy. He understands the enemy, and the threat the enemy poses. Since his goal is to stop the advancement of the enemy’s mission, he doesn’t wait for them to attack, he takes the battle straight to them.
These traits of (the character) Jack Bauer should be traits possessed by followers of Jesus. Just think if believers and churches were like Jack Bauer.
- What if followers of Jesus were serious about their identity and their calling as the redeemed saints of God who have been called out of the world only to have been sent back into the world to reflect the glory of King Jesus by living and sharing his gospel in all aspects of their life?
- What if followers of Jesus were sacrificial about their calling and mission that King Jesus has sent them on? What if they were truly willing to pick up their death sentence (the cross) and follow Jesus wherever he leads? What if the church was willing to break their own rules, red-tape, traditions, preferences, and policies for the sake of the glory of God and his mission in the world? What if followers of Jesus relinquished their freedom for the sake of others’ salvation?
- What if followers of Jesus were determined to accomplish the mission of taking the gospel to the nations? What if we didn’t back down or quit when things got tough, but we pressed on all the more—doing whatever it takes?
- What if followers of Jesus really cared about others, both in the church and outside the church? What if we treated others with great care, concern, and honor? What if we highly valued the life of others, both spiritually and physically?
- What if followers of Jesus were really seen as both a blessing and a curse, just as the first century church was? What if we were a blessing to those whom we served, aided, loved, and encouraged; while at the same time we were seen as a curse to those who felt threatened by the influence and impact of the gospel through us?
- What if we were truly offensive rather than passive in our engagement with the enemy—the god of this world (2 Cor 4:4)? What if we took the battle to him, on his turf, in the larger culture? What if we didn’t operate as if we were on an isolated island away from everyone else, but really lived sent lives individually, corporately, and institutionally? What if we engaged in everyday life, in everyday spheres of life?
If we followed Christ as the character Jack Bauer lived out his calling, I believe the church would see greater results of people coming to know Jesus. I believe the church would see a larger, deeper, and wider impact in their communities and cities. I believe the church would experience the power of God in ways they haven’t seen in quite a long time. As it sits, there are not that many Jack Bauers, nor are there that many workers for the harvest. Nevertheless, it’s not too late to begin right now being this type of church, this type of follower of Jesus.