As a die-hard baseball fan, the number “42” has a very special place in my heart. It is the only number in the major leagues that has been “retired” by all teams. Until this week, I did not know how much significance the number “42” has outside baseball. Here are just a couple of examples:
• The world’s first book printed with movable type is the Gutenberg Bible which has 42 lines per page.
• On page 42 of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry discovers he’s a wizard.
• Elvis Presley died at the age of 42.
• Toy Story character Buzz Lightyear’s spaceship is named 42.
• In the Book of Revelation, it is prophesied that the beast will hold dominion over the earth for 42 months.
But perhaps the most famous use of “42” (besides Jackie Robinson’s number) is found in a cosmic science fiction novel, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, which is about the end of the world, other intelligent life in the universe, and ultimate answers. The story revolves around a computer named Deep Thought who is asked the question, “What is the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything?”
When asked the question, Deep Thought’s initial response is to “think about it.” Well, after seven and a half million years of thinking and calculations, Deep Thought reveals that the answer to that question is “42.” And then, to those baffled folks wondering what they can possibly do with that answer, Deep Thought suggests that maybe the problem is that they’ve never really thought “what is the ultimate question?”
I wonder if we, as followers of Jesus, ask the wrong question. It seems like many of us spend time asking, “Am I going to Heaven?” or “Will I be saved?” Maybe those aren’t the ultimate questions we need to ask. Today is the Sunday we celebrate Christ as King. It is the Sunday where we proclaim Christ is King of Life, the Universe and Everything. And if we truly believe He is King, maybe the question is not about what happens at the end, but more like what am I supposed to be doing right now? What does Jesus want me to do? To be? How will my life be different because I believe Christ is King? I have a feeling the answer is not “42.”