But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first. (Matthew 19:30)
Scriptures present many paradoxes, such as the one above, which seem completely absurd to the world at large, but yet, in God’s economy, they make perfect sense. The world with its evolutionary mindset would attempt to convince us that the survival of the fittest dictates that we must scratch and claw our way to the top regardless of the victims we leave behind in our wake. “I’m number one” is the mantra of the modern day success story. Jesus’ path to success took quite the opposite direction: he who would be “first shall be last; and the last shall be first” (our verse).
Jesus never deviated from His message. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth … But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-20). “Therefore take no thought, saying what shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? … But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:31, 33). “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:25). “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew18:4). “[W]hosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant” (Matthew 20:26-27).
Jesus was not one of those teachers that taught: “Do as I say, not as I do.” He set the example for us to follow. On the eve of His crucifixion Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples, and taking the place of the lowliest servant of the household, “He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself … and began to wash the disciples’ feet” (John 13:4-5). His greatest example by far was His condescension to humanity. “Christ Jesus … being in the form of God … made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and made himself in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, eve the death of the cross” (Philippians 2: 5-8). In God’s economy, the way to the top is to seek the bottom. “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew16:26).