Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Life of Significance

Many historians have determined that the life and in particular, the death of Jesus was likely the most significant event of history. Christianity was the cultural context for much of what we know as western society. From the rise of modern science, to the means of social change, Christian philosophers that were firmly grounded in the teachings of Jesus Christ and had a profound reliance on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus provided the means of social change and much of what we know as civilization.

Here is a quote from one of my favorite historians, R.R. Palmer who wrote “the History of the Modern World” in 1950 and which has been continuously revised and reprinted since. “it is impossible to exaggerate the importance of the coming of Christianity. It brought with it, for one thing, an altogether new sense of human life. For the Greeks had shown man his mind; but the Christians showed him his soul. They taught that in the sight of God, all souls were equal, that every human life was sacrosanct and inviolate. Where the Greeks had identified the beautiful and the good, ..the Christian sought out the diseased, the crippled, the mutilated, to give them help. Love, for the ancient Greek, was never quite distinguished from Venus. For the Christians held that God was love, it took on deep overtones of sacrifice and compassion." - R. R. Palmer

Significance in the light of Jesus.

Pastor Rick Warren, in his best-selling book, "The Purpose Driven Life", said that each of us wants our lives to have purpose or significance. Each of us must decide what that means. Each of us must decide what will be the measuring rod of our life. Is it material things, power, influence, how good we look at age 50? Or is it faithfulness to God’s statutes? Are we measured by our response to “who is our neighbor” or having the most expensive house in the neighborhood? Rick Warren defines success as “fulfilling God’s purpose for your life” and many have found similar definitions that are also Biblical and meaningful.

As we see Jesus in this week of the passion; it’s clear what Jesus regarded as the true measure of a life. For three years, in the face of opposition and death threats, Jesus had pursued His mission of bringing God’s kingdom to all people. Jesus was the “Emanuel”, God with us—all-powerful and all-knowing. He knew of the danger that awaited him in Jerusalem, but He also knew that there was significant purpose in His mission. Jesus knew that He would be betrayed or abandoned by His chosen followers. He knew that He would be arrested, that He would be mocked and whipped and that ultimately, he would die a horrible death on a cross between two thieves.

Do we know who we are? We are children of the king. We are the redeemed and as Psalm 107 encourages, “Let them say so that have been redeemed by the Lord, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy: and gathered out of the countries.”
Our purpose and our significance is first and foremost who we are in Christ. Let us live the life that is significant, fully dependent on the Lord and faithful to His Word. Our identity is in Christ, our purpose is in Christ, our security is in Christ and our future is in Christ.

God’s richest blessings to you this Easter!

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