Friday, February 7, 2014

History Lesson: Bob Marley Becomes a Christian

"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."
2 Peter 3:9

With Bob Marley's birthday yesterday, it's worth remembering how he left this world:
Yesehaq appeared in a 1984 interview with Jamaica Gleaner's Sunday magazine, titled "Abuna Yesehaq Looks Back on 14 Years of Ministry in Jamaica," in which he spoke about Marley's desire to become a Christian long before his death.

"Bob was really a good brother, a child of God, regardless of how people looked at him," Yesehaq said. "He had a desire to be baptized long ago, but there were people close to him who controlled him and who were aligned to a different aspect of Rastafari. But he came to church regularly."

In the interview, Yesehaq addressed claims that Marley's terminal cancer was the motivation behind his acceptance of Jesus Christ as his personal savior.


"When Bob was on his dying bed, his wife Rita called me on the phone and said to me that Bob was in such excruciating pain and he stretched out his hand and said, 'Jesus take me.' I was wondering to myself, 'Why is it that Bob said Jesus and not Selassie,'" Mowatt questioned. "Then I met a friend of mine and he said his sister, who is a Christian, was a nurse at the hospital where Bob was before he passed on, and she led him to the Lord Jesus Christ. So when Rita saw him saying 'Jesus take me,' he had already received the Lord Jesus Christ in his life."
Beginning and End has more:
February 6th marked what would have been the 67th birthday of Jamaican reggae legend Bob Marley, widely considered one of the greatest and most influential musicians of all time. Marley, who hailed from a lower class area of Kingston, the capital city of Jamaica, saw his rise to prominence in the 1970′s with a musical group known as The Wailers, with their new brand of Jamaican ska music and reggae. His album, Legend, released 3 years after his death, is still the greatest-selling reggae album of all time. In addition to turning reggae into a global music phenomenon, Marley was also the chief promoter of the Rastafarian religion worldwide (an upcoming documentary called “Marley”, to be released in April, will certainly highlight his amazing career). While he is famous for his dreadlocks, Rastafarian ethic and signature voice, what very few know is that Marley converted to Christianity over one year before his death.

Several independent sources confirm the account of Marley’s conversion from Rasta religion to Christianity.


When asked why the story of Marley rejecting the Rastafari for Christianity is not more well-known she stated: “If people knew, they would be drawn to Jesus Christ. Nobody wants to promote that in Jamaica. I said it on a popular television programme over there and a Rasta man met me and asked me why did I have to say that? I told him it was because it’s the truth! But he never wanted me to reveal that and I think that nobody wants it to be revealed because so many people would be drawn to Jesus.” Bob Marley’s official website doesn’t even mention his conversion, (although a number of fan sites do.)


“Bob Marley himself, before he died, he got baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,” Tommy says with much conviction. “What does Selassie teaches That Jesus Christ is the way. As a matter of fact, in one song you would have heard him militantly (saying) ‘how they crucified my Jesus Christ and they sold Marcus Garvey for rice.’One of his songs said, ‘Give us the teachings if his majesty because we dona’t want the devil’s philosophy.’ Bob, Tommy recalls, called the bishop of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and told him I need to be baptized now. Just recently Tommy was speaking with the said bishop who described Bob’s baptism. “At one point he (Bob) cried for 45 minutes non-stop; his tears wet the floor. And the Holy Spirit came down upon his body and he cried out Jesus Christ three times ‘Jesus my Savior, Jesus Christ…’”


While Bob Marley spent most of his legendary music career promoting the worship of Selassie and railing against Christianity, his final year of life is a testament to God’s grace and the fact that no matter how far someone moves away from God, they can always come back to The Lord in repentance and receive Jesus Christ as their Savior. Bob Marley made music that promoted peace, racial equality and love among all people. Yet he still did not find spiritual fulfillment in his message. Instead he found it in Jesus Christ, the true God in the flesh, who not only preached a message of peace and love but showed the world its sin and the consequences of it. As the book of Romans states: “the wages of sin is death.” But by giving His life on the cross, Jesus Christ paid the price and punishment for those who choose to believe in Him. And praise The Lord that Marley seemed to have learned all of this and professed it before he met his own untimely death. And in Marley’s conversion, not only was his soul saved, but he set an example for Judy Mowatt, Tommy Cowan and hopefully many others. Let the reader learn from Marley’s journey. Believing in peace and love is admirable but will not save your soul. Only forgiveness of sins through the one who came to Earth to give Himself for all of us (for more on what it means to have eternal life and be a born again Christian, see here). Hopefully more fans will get to know the Savior who Marley called: “my sweet Jesus Christ.”

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