Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him." Acts 10:34-35
His real name was James Brian Hellwig, but most of the folks who follow the entertainment which is commonly called Championship Wrestling knew him as "The Ultimate Warrior."
During the 80s and early 90s, The Ultimate Warrior was big, buff, and an incredibly popular star. He was also good enough to go up against Hulk Hogan for the World Championship title. (He lost.)
A number of years back The Ultimate Warrior stepped out of the squared circle and retired from the sport that had made him famous. Indeed, until last week, he was pretty much incommunicado.
Then, in the twinkling of an eye, he was back. On a Saturday night in April his two teenage daughters brought him to the stage for his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. Then, on Sunday, he was interviewed at WrestleMania XXX, and the next day he appeared on the TV wrestling program Monday Night Raw.
Yes, The Ultimate Warrior was back, and there was every reason to think he was planning on staying. His nostalgia-filled fans rejoiced when The Ultimate Warrior shared he had accepted a new job, a job which called upon him to be a goodwill ambassador for World Wrestling Entertainment.
The next day, walking with his wife outside an Arizona hotel room, James Brian Hellwig fell to the ground and died. At the age of 54, The Ultimate Warrior was "counted out." He serves as a reminder that death doesn't always wait until you are a 93-year-old Mickey Rooney, and it doesn't always give a warning of its arrival as it did for Annette Funicello.
The reality is this: because death is not a respecter of persons it can come any time, any way it wants. Sooner or later, death comes calling on the rich, the poor, the famous, and the forgotten. Sooner or later, it will stop by to see each of us. On that day there is only one question that will have any significance: "Was Jesus in our corner?"
Please understand: Jesus most definitely wants to be in that corner. The Savior, who also is not a respecter of persons, was born, lived, suffered, died and rose to save us all. Now, through Word and Sacrament, the Holy Spirit gives us faith, which will guarantee Jesus will win our final fight for us.
This is why, even before that battle takes place we can give thanks to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (see 1 Corinthians 15:57).
THE PRAYER:Dear Lord, it doesn't make any difference how big, how buff, how smart, how wise, how good-looking, how rich, or how popular we are. If Jesus is not our Savior, we will lose the ultimate battle against death. Thankfully, Jesus is my Savior, and I know, because of Him, there is hope and life eternal in heaven. For this final victory over death, I give thanks in His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries