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Commentary on "Jonathan: Born for Greatness"



Day 6: Thursday, October 21, 2010 - When Life Isn't Fair


Today’s lesson is titled “When Life Isn’t Fair” and uses Jonathan, John the Baptist and others in an attempt to show how life is not always fair.

Because of so much bad hermeneutics used during this week’s lesson, as well as psychological understanding of things that are not presented in the Scripture passages at study, today let’s look at one part of a paragraph that hits the proverbial nail on the head.

On page 50 of the Teacher’s Quarterly, we find the following statement:

However insignificant or even useless their lives and sacrifices may appear, they are nonetheless key players in God’s plans. They are motivated and sustained by Jesus’ love and presence. They are born for greatness—not necessarily the kind of greatness that the world understands or portrays but a greatness that goes way beyond our human concepts and expectations.

This is a good statement of some very important points that have been avoided all week long. Greatness in the eyes of the world and greatness in the eyes of God are often two very different things. All week long the lesson author has been speaking of greatness, or being “second” to someone else from a worldly perspective. Christians do not measure greatness or “placeness” (1st, 2nd, etc.) as the world measures.

The kingdom of God is an upside-down kingdom. We cannot continue to think like the world. If we are to think like Christ would have his followers think, we cannot begin by “having the mind of Christ” (Philippians 2:5), we must begin by being filled with the Holy Spirit. Only then, can we ever hope to have the mind of Christ. It is not an intellectual pursuit; it is a spiritual pursuit.


First Place – The Prize

Let us leave off everything that weighs us down, and press on to the prize in our Lord, Christ Jesus. (Let’s let the Scripture speak, here.) Philippians 3:13-21 holds great promise for those of us who keep the cross central:

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained. 17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (ESV)

Let’s forget all those things that lie behind us. This includes all those things today’s lesson suggests could be problematic for us. (Let’s not seek help for psychological issues in a Sabbath School.) Let’s always remember that in our life, what God has called us to be is, first, his adopted children, then secondly functioning members of the body of Christ; filled with his Spirit and finishing the race, knowing that Christ has guaranteed us first place as we hold true to him and we subject all of ourselves to him.



  1. Greatness as God esteems it is utterly different from the way the world esteems greatness.
  2. The kingdom of God is an upside-down kingdom.
  3. We are to press on to the upward call in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
  4. We are guaranteed first place in our race if we are filled with his Spirit and function as a member of the body of Christ as we have been called.

TOMORROW YOU WILL FINISH 1ST SAMUEL, that is, if you began reading 6 chapters a day on Monday, plus an extra chapter tomorrow. If not, every week is a chance to do that!




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