What did Jesus mean when he said, "Whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
by Roland Clarke
Jim Elliot said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose” thus echoing Jesus words, “whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me...will save it.” Emulating Jesus, Jim Elliot and his four teammates laid down their lives as martyrs so the Waodani people could hear and receive eternal life. Interestingly, the paradox of 'saving/losing' one's earthly life has wider application. As Solomon wrote, “Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” Jesus also said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” A modern Kurdish proverb echoes this paradox, “What you give away you keep,” as well as Arabic proverbial wisdom, “If you do charity your house will always be rich.” So what is the outcome of living this way? Cherokee (& Persian) sages came up with an interesting proverb, “When you were born you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.” (cf. Book of Ecclesiastes 7:1-5)
The bona fides of the Church that Christians must consider
Politicians have told us that we must follow the science. Models were presented that caused us to brace for impact for up to 2 million dead from this virus. We complied. We submitted. The Executive Branch of our states have the legal authority to curtail rights in the face of an attack or national emergency. The emergency was originally the risk of overwhelming our healthcare infrastructure with too many infections. We shored up hospitals, erected tent hospitals, and boats to care for the sick. We were called upon to not assemble, to stay at home, to flatten the curve so that we are not all sick at once. The curve was flattened. The hospitals were not flooded, the tents are empty, and the boats have sailed away. The estimates were overblown, the models flawed, and the science trumped by politics.
Consider the Evidence
The four gospels all say Jesus rose from the dead. They give us almost excessive details. Setting aside the biblical reports of the resurrection for the sake of scrutiny, we still have to make sense of the other solid facts: a) Jesus's body disappeared and has never been recovered; b) The Roman guards would not have allowed his body to be stolen, and all the authorities wanted him dead and gone for good. c) The disciples had no faith that he would rise from the dead, and they had no reason to even try to steal a dead man's body in light of who they had expected him to be—an invincible Messianic deliverer, who had failed. Now, it is an historical fact that the disciples later believed that Jesus had risen. Is there a reasonable explanation for this?
Yes, there is. Consider the evidence.
A Critical Review of Sayed Modarresi's Book
Recently I read a short book called The Lost Testament: What Christians Don’t Know About Christ, by Sayed Mahdi Modarresi. It’s a provocative title. It was loaned to me by a dear Muslim neighbor who wanted me to read it, so I did. Out of respect for her, and from a desire to compile my reactions to the author’s main argument and sub-points, I decided to write this review. In general, I love the idea of a book esteeming the words of Jesus, which is captured so beautifully by these words on the back cover.
“The Words of Christ are so exquisite they make Aristotle seem sophomoric. His proclamations against corruption and injustice are so zealous, a million Ghandis would kneel down before him. His erudition is so profound, it is divinely inspired verses, not mere creations of the mind of a man that he was.” (p. 20)
As a Christian, I couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, my agreement doesn't go much further. Despite Modarresi's apparent reverence for Jesus, he is the Jesus of Islam, not of Christianity. This book is actually a polemic against the Bible.
How and Where it Shows up in Philosophy, Culture and Religion
by Scott Cherry—
Society craves icons, or heroes. And why is that? Russell Brand can mock this craving all he wants, but I doubt he is above it. Could it be that we actually need great people and exemplars in the world? Could it be that a kind of hero-recognition code has been ‘pre-installed’ into our collective psyche that even spawns some of them? I mean, not that it would be unjustified—there are an awful lot of disturbing maladies and crises in the world. Who does not (openly or secretly) yearn for a Superman or a Wonder Woman, or a whole team of heroes like the Avengers? And isn’t that why the Marvel Avengers series and other superhero movies have been so wildly successful and seem never to stop being popular? The glaring thing, of course, is that the world’s problems are too big and too numerous even for them. We are desperate for great Humanitarians and lots of ordinary ones too. We rightly crave them and we should all want to become one. Humanity is in no position to disparage people who want to do great good for the world and have the means to do it. On the other hand, an actualized “messiah complex’ can produce a dangerous kind of person if not tempered by love, humility, and compassion, etc. Not everybody is qualified to be a “messiah”. Actually very few.