But God shows his great love for us in this way: Christ died for us while we were still sinners.
-- Romans 5:8
Want an eye-opening reminder of God’s greatness and power? Then look no further than the awe-inspiring images of distant stars and galaxies taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Launch into space in 1990 aboard the space shuttle Discovery, the Hubble Space Telescope can take crisp photos of incredibly distant objects because it orbits above Earth’s atmosphere – a barrier that can block and distort light reflected by the mirrors of conventional ground-based telescopes.
But you haven’t seen anything yet. Nine research organizations from the United States, Australia and South Korea recently joined forces to begin building the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT). And when the 80-foot GMT goes online in 2019 from its location in Chile, its seven huge mirrors will help produce images 10 times sharper than Hubble’s!
It takes just a tiny point of reflected light from a telescope’s mirror to change our notions about the universe. But when there are barriers – like the atmosphere – we can miss the big picture or be misled by a distorted image. This principle also applies to how we live out our lives. “I am the light of the world,” Jesus told the people. “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." As Christ-followers, our lives are to always reflect Jesus’ love in action. But we too face barriers. Our society teaches us to beat the competition, climb the corporate ladder and keep up with our neighbors (and then pass them by). We need the biggest, the best and the shiniest. And most of all, we can’t forget that it’s not bragging if we can back it up.
But Christ teaches a much different way: to be first, we must be last.
This bold perspective sheds a new light on things. And that’s just the point. How much better would this world be if His people were to adopt a servant’s attitude and put the interests of others before their own? Jesus answered this question through His own example. First, He willingly surrendered all the advantages He had as God’s only Son. He entered the world through the most humble of circumstances – a birth among farm animals in a less-than-tidy stable. When he grew older, he learned to make a living as a carpenter. Of course, Jesus could have lived in splendor as the King of Kings. But instead, He chose a nomadic existence for teaching God’s Good News of salvation to His people.
That’s quite a life lesson – one taught by the One with a humble servant’s heart. He’s the same One who came to serve rather than to be served. And He’s the only One whose sacrifice for our sakes is counted worthy.
So how can we mirror Christ’s life through our own lives? Jesus says it all starts by accepting Him as personal Lord and Savior. As He explained it to a respected religious leader centuries ago, we must be “born again.”
The fact is that we are nothing without Him and can do even less by ourselves. But through this brilliant Light of the World, all things are possible.