The stories are almost all the same, the hero versus the villain. There’s an opening setting, conflict, rising action, tense climax and finally a conclusion. The protagonist is in battle with the antagonist. The stories of Bond, James Bond, are no different. Adventure, action and intrigue mark his life. He keeps his cool but he’s a cold player; he moves fast and with flare. He’s smart, formidable and creative. He’s attired with fashionable and materialistic bling. He’s immensely resourceful, with high tech gadgets galore. However, he’s the vulgar and sensual type, and he’s always quick to sleep around. If this is not bad enough, he seems to have a knack for knocking people off if they stand in his way. Sure, out of self-defense, and of course it’s the bad people, but still human life seems to mean little to him.
He may seem to be a man’s man, but is he? Is he someone we should emulate? Maybe you’ve tried and maybe your life isn’t working. Here’s why trying to be a Bond will lead to failure. Besides Bond’s immorality on so many levels, emulating his fast and lose life will make you fall flat on your face. You can’t keep up. Plus, the outcome of an unrighteous, arrogant, proud and sensual life rots one’s soul. In fact, it seems to me that those who try to do things the Bond way become insecure and vulnerable to peer pressure of the secular crowd.
If your life isn’t working, maybe stop doing it the Bond way and start doing it the Jesus way! If you want a role model, look to Jesus, not a “hero” like Bond. Jesus is the more excellent way, the most positive role model ever.
Follow The Un-Bond Way
Jesus was about as un-Bond-like as anyone could ever be in so many ways.
- Jesus wasn’t born into wealth, rather his crib was a manger.
- Jesus was not part of some “privileged” class.
- Jesus was homeless, living in a local park.
- Jesus most likely had only one outfit.
- Jesus was not a world traveler.
- Jesus’ ideas opposed popular opinion.
- Jesus’ friends left him, denied him and even betrayed him.
- Jesus was given an unjust and humiliating trial.
- Jesus was oppressed and lost all his rights.
- Jesus was crucified, a slave’s death, between two criminals.
As a human, Jesus entered this world over two thousand years ago. He went through all stages of life. He was conceived in the womb, grew up as a child and went through his teen years. He entered adulthood and lived into his thirties. He can identify with all of us, because he was here too. Jesus, while on earth, didn’t aspire to earthly power, prestige, privilege and fluff. From Jesus’ birth, his life and his death, Jesus walked with the downtrodden and oppressed of the world. Even though he was fully God, he can empathize with us since he was also fully human.
One short sermon excerpt, titled “One Solitary Life” says this about Jesus:
“He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant. He grew up in another village, where he worked in a carpenter shop until he was 30. Then, for three years, he was an itinerant preacher.”
“He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a home. He didn’t go to college. He never lived in a big city. He never traveled 200 miles from the place where he was born. He did none of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but himself.”
“He was only 33 when the tide of public opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied him. He was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. While he was dying, his executioners gambled for his garments, the only property he had on earth. When he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave, through the pity of a friend.”
The Impact Of Jesus
While the above is all true, it is also true that Jesus has been the most influential individual in human history. More books have been written about him, more songs have been sung to him and more lives have been devoted to him. The above sermon continued, making my point:
“[Twenty] centuries have come and gone, and today he is the central figure of the human race. I am well within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned—put together—have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as that one, solitary life.”
We all take for granted western civilization’s freedom, slave abolition, promotion of reason and promotion of mass-education. We all take for granted western civilization’s free market system, the university system and the scientific enterprise. It so happens that Jesus is at the center. Why? Well, Jesus is central to the Christian worldview and the Christian worldview is central to western civilization.
In other words, without the Jesus-inspired western civilization, you would most likely be a slave or a serf. You would have fewer rights and less justice. You would most likely be living in abject poverty. You would not have free market capitalism nor the industrial revolution. You would have no university. Superstition would reign, and there would be no science.
The Day The Revolution Began
Luke, the physician, was one of Jesus’ four biographers. He carefully researched Jesus’ life and then wrote a two-volume set about Jesus and his followers. The first book is called the Gospel of Luke and the second is the Book of Acts. In the first book, Luke tells the saga of Jesus’ life. It starts out talking about Jesus’ birth, then the story transitions into his power over the temptations of the devil. It is after this point that we pick up and find an interesting and foundational text. It can be found in the fourth chapter of his gospel. I think this passage is not only indicative but also a grounding of Jesus’ teachings. To add to this, this passage is a prophecy or prediction of Jesus’ work on earth!
The setting opens with Jesus standing in the Nazareth Jewish synagogue. He intentionally locates a passage from the ancient book of Isaiah, and he reads it. This is what he read:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18,19, KJV)
Now, if you would read this out of the KJV version of the book of Isaiah, you would read something that is very similar, but it also seems slightly different.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn” (Isaiah 61:1,2, KJV)
However, when you read it out of the Septuagint (LXX), the Tanakh that Jesus would have used, you would read something like this:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me; he has sent me to preach glad tidings to the poor, to heal the broken in heart, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind; to declare the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of recompence; to comfort all that mourn” (Isaiah 61:1, 2, LXX).
The larger context of this story can be found in Luke 4:14-44.
Jesus Had Purpose and was On a Mission
This passage not only affirms who Jesus is, but also explains his mission, his focus and his purpose. Jesus didn’t sit around wasting his time. If he were living today, he would not be video gaming, aspiring to pro-sports, becoming rich, being cool or seeking the latest gadgets. He came with a purpose, he came to serve and not to be served, and he came to preach good tidings. He was concerned with the brokenhearted, the captive, the blind, the bruised and the slave.
This is the first domino of the Jesus worldview. It could be called the nucleus that started the world-shaking Jesus movement. Some have told me that the effects of the western worldview could have come about through just human reason or some other worldview. However, no other worldview is robust enough to do such things. For example, secular humanism could never do such a thing. It has no grounding for morality, order, reason or progress. The faux morality, order, reason and progress atheism teaches usually have to be based upon Christianity, which they embarrassingly deny. Eastern religions could not do these things either. Susan Perlman says this about Eastern religions: “Eastern religions taught that people who suffered, pain, disease and untimely death were being justly punished for dishonorable behavior in a previous life. Eastern religions accepted suffering as karma to be repeated over and over in lifetime after lifetime, whereas Yeshua [Jesus] taught compassion for the suffering. Grace and forgiveness flowed from him, and yet his righteousness was not compromised.”
Susan goes on to contrast Eastern religions to the actions of Jesus. “…Unlike many other leaders of his day, [Jesus] showed a profound love for people–all kinds of people. The only people who were not touched by that love were those who did not want it. [Jesus] extended forgiveness, acceptance, approval and appreciation to all except the self-satisfied and self-righteous. Apart from them, Jesus wanted to be with whomever wanted to be with him.” Jesus seemed to specialize in hanging out with those who needed help: the poor, the weak, the sick and the sinner. She continues: “He was a compassionate and caring and loving person to those who were vulnerable, frightened, despairing and downtrodden. He never failed to leave people somehow better off than when he first met them.” She went on to say, “He spent time with the tax collectors, fishermen, women of questionable reputation, learned people, farmers with dirt beneath their nails, Jews, Samaritans–even Romans.” However, even though Jesus hung out with them, he did not leave them without changing them in some way. As Dr. Michael Brown once noted, “Jesus did not practice affirmational inclusion, but transformational inclusion.”
Jesus The Ultimate Role Model
So, if you are looking for a positive role model, there’s no better option than Jesus. Not only did he change individuals and cultures, but he changed the world. Of course he is a capital role model, so much so that men for thousands of years have looked to him. Jesus was smart, witty, and wise; he could carry a good conversation. He spoke truth with clarity and power. He could give a verbal punch and take one. He could ask a question that would cause one’s mind to come screeching to a halt, he could tell a good story to drive home a forever thoughtful point, and all the while, he could answer some of the deepest and most controversial questions of his day.
Not only that, he unabashedly called out hypocrisy. He could get angry without sinning. He could use a whip if needed. In fact, he did when he used one to drive out profiteers from the temple courts. He could overturn the profiteers’ tables and scatter their money. He could drive out their sheep and cattle.
Yet, even so, Jesus was a great example of how a young virgin male can have strong and healthy relationships with women, even single women … not immoral or inappropriate. Susan Perlman says this about Jesus, “He appreciated the gifts of women, whereas other rabbis wouldn’t allow contact with a female for fear of defilement.”
One of the things Jesus did was hold men and women up to greater responsibility. His teachings on marriage make homosexuality, shacking up, divorce (except for immorality) and remarriage to all be out of the question. Thus, Jesus spoke to our sexualized and moral relative culture of our day, and he affirmed the definition of marriage. He said it was between one man and one woman for life (Matthew 19).
Plus, Jesus showed how true adults would treat children. He spoke in a way that went right up and opposed the Greco-Roman debased view of children. In a culture where children weren’t considered worth anything, sexual and physical abuse of children was the norm. In fact, many babies would be left along the road to die! Those that were rescued were often enslaved into sexual and physical slavery, even while they were children! Jesus decried those who offended children. He said that it would be better for those who sin against children to have a large stone hung around their necks and be thrown into the sea!
Lastly, Jesus should stand out to us as an amazing role model because he never had the “I’m oppressed” type of attitude. He stood with confidence and authority and bore responsibility. He unflinchingly gave up his “rights” and became oppressed. He went to the cross willingly in the place of humanity!
What would the world look like if even more would make Jesus their role model? What would the world look like if even more would study the life and teachings of Jesus? What would the world look like if even more would make Jesus’ mission, passion, responsibility, purpose and commitment their own? What would the world look like if even more would share the good tidings that Jesus shared?
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