On February 2nd, about 430 PM our time, many will tune into a visual spectacle called the Super Bowl. This championship game of the National Football League provides viewers the opportunity to watch athletic excellence, high-end entertainment, multiple celebrities and some of the world’s best advertisements. Around 100 million viewers will tune in to watch part or all of it. The Super Bowl attempts to awe us.
Yet it doesn’t come close to some of the most watched events in TV history. According to didyouknowfacts.com, the 10 most watched Television events in history do not include one Super Bowl. Instead they include the following (with millions of viewers in brackets): #10 – John F. Kennedy’s 1963 funeral (180); Prince Charles/Kate Middleton Wedding – 2011 (180) India/Pakistan 2011 Cricket Match (400), Chinese Spring Festival Gala 2012 (500); Michael Jackson’s memorial service 2009 (500), Apollo 11 Moon Landing 1969 (500), World Cup Soccer Final 2006 – Italy v. France (715); Elvis Live from Hawaii – 1973 (1 Billion); Rescue of Chilean Miners – 2010 (1 Billion) and number one – the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics (2 billion).
We love being awed and we long for it. Tony Reinke writes, “Humans are hard wired with an unquenchable appetite to seek glory. Our eyes scan for greatness.” Yet even though these great events may awe us for a few hours, they soon end. We begin looking for something else. We try to find awe in the latest movie or video game. We seek it by checking out what is trending on Twitter or looking up the most viral video of the last day. Or we check our own posts to see how many likes we’ve gotten or the latest outrage that our preferred political feed stirs up in us. We now live in a world that constantly competes for our awe and amazement.
Though all of these may provide a temporary rush of awe satisfaction, they can come up empty after awhile. How many of us have really “felt better” after a 4-hour TV binge? Gaming late into early hours of the next morning can leave us exhausted the next few days. Spending hundreds of dollars on one sporting event can leave us incredibly disappointed if our team does not win. So is life just one endless journey to find next awe-inspiring event?
Well one event continues to inspire awe and cause reverberations throughout history. This event was quite the spectacle in its day. Only a couple hundred people likely saw it. However, millions have read and reread their eyewitness testimony to gain a picture in their mind of this event. It both shocks and softens us. It is terrible and wonderful. It is misunderstood and mislabelled. Yet for many it is the greatest example of love in all history.
It is the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. An innocent man gives Himself up to pay for our wrongs. A humble man submits to the mistreatment of guards and soldiers so that we could receive forgiveness. A beloved Son fulfills His heavenly Father’s mission to offer awe-starved people everlasting life. Everlasting awe is a lot longer than a few Super Bowl hours. Might it be time for you to direct your awe appetite to the one who can satisfy it forever?
 Tony Reinke; Competing Spectacles: Treasuring Christ in the Media Age, 2019.