Sometimes making comparisons can be dangerous and, oftentimes, humiliating.
During my time playing high school basketball in the late 1970's and early 80's, there were two players in the NBA that I attempted to "pattern my game after". One was Dr. Julius Erving (Dr. J) of the Philadelphia 76ers. The other was Larry Bird (the original Larry Legend - sorry, Larry "The Legend" Castle) of the Boston Celtics.
Now, comparing my skill to that of these two Hall of Famers is certainly a bit of a joke, but in my mind as an 18-year-old, I had GAME . . . .
If you read the four gospel accounts of the life of Jesus, you will see several phrases that all state something like this: “An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest” (Luke 9:46). On more than one occasion, Jesus had to break up arguments about which disciple would be the greatest. James and John’s own mother even got in on the action (Matthew 20:20-21).Surely her two sons would be the greatest in the kingdom!
The Apostle Paul would be described as more like a pitbull than a poodle. And yet, in Philippians chapter one, you can't help but notice the softer side of the sometime contentious Apostle. This softer side is seen in: 1:7 - "I have you in my heart . . . " 1:8 - "how greatly I long for you . . . "
This statement from Philippians 4 comes from the guy in a Roman prison cell surrounded by suffering and death (i.e. human torches of martyred Christians and the sound of lions in the Colosseum of Rome making sport of Christians thrown to them).
And yet, the Apostle Paul finds a spirit of peace given him from "the peace of God" (4:7) / "the God of peace" (4:9) as he recognized that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (4:13).
How did Jesus say crazy things and mean it, like in Hebrews 12:2: "who for the JOY that was set before Him endured the cross . . . " . . . or the apostle Paul saying in Philippians 2:2: "fulfill my JOY . . . "
Many of those growing up in the church today know the truth, but behave as if living in the presence of God and in obedience to His Word was just one of many options. In God's sovereignty and compassion, He sent His one and only Son with the aim of making us like Christ. In the book of Jonah, which we'll be digging into again this weekend, we find some comparisons to Jesus that we might not have noticed before.