by Ernest O’Neill
One of the most difficult concepts to accept is that you’re so insignificant. All of us feel this even though we don’t say it. After all, everyone else seems to put up with it! Nevertheless, it makes you wonder whether you’re anything more than a little blip on the huge radar screen of the centuries — and you want to cry out “it ain’t necessarily so.”
However, it seems to be so. Each of us lasts just about 70 or 80 years. Most of us don’t touch or change any people or things very much. We usually die and are remembered by a few relatives for about 10 or 20 years — and that seems to be it! Yet, somehow, we feel it isn’t or shouldn’t be this way. We don’t know why we feel that, but we do. Indeed much of our own restless egotism springs from this desire to get someone to notice that we aren’t just a millisecond nothing.
But are we? The things we’ve just said are more or less true for all of us. It does seem that this is the whole story. But a thought keeps nagging at us — aren’t we more than this? Don’t our lives have more significance than a short appearance here on this planet?
The reality is that you are bigger than this! You are more than a millisecond blip on the vast screen of the cosmos. But this reality has been hidden in the centre of the Christian religion so long that few of us have ever thought about it. It’s vital for us to think clearly through this if we are to avoid living our lives in a dark little corner of unreality. Probably the first thing we have to do is to stop playing at democracy in our attitude to this Christian thing. Christ just happens to be utterly different from all other human religious prophets and leaders. We don’t need to insult or show disrespect to Islam and Buddhism: they have given millions of our brothers and sisters hope and encouragement. But we do need to see that while Buddha and Mohammed succumbed to physical death like the rest of us, Christ actually got up and lived after he’d been executed. The history of his life and death is better documented than the history of Julius Caesar or Plato so his unique existence is based on empirical, eyewitness evidence that defies scepticism.
But what has this life of Christ got to do with me being a little nothing? You are part of Christ! THAT’S WHO YOU REALLY ARE!! A living personal cell in the only-begotten Son of the Creator of the universe!
When Were You Born?
The problem with most of us is that the only things we know about Christ are the things we heard at Sunday School. We stopped any study of the most important human being in the world when we reached our teenage years. So we think that this Jesus Christ visited earth for about 33 years, then died, lived again for another month and returned to heaven. When we read that he said “before Abraham was, I am”, we pause for a moment at the poor grammar, scratch our heads, and then watch television. When we read his prayer “Father restore to me the glory I had with you before the world was”, we wonder if He was alive before he came to earth, but all this deep thought seems beyond us, so we return to the idea that he was just another human being that came and went.
The fact is what Paul stated in Colossians 1:15 : “Christ is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible — all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” That’s why Jesus said “before Abraham was, I am” — he was born of our God before the universe was made — and in that same moment in eternity he became the first-born of all creation — and “you are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which He has prepared beforehand that you should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
That’s how significant you are — and that’s when you were really born in timelessness though God has permitted your life to be lived out in time so that you can begin to understand fully the choice that faces you. Think about it — and we’ll try to talk more about it in the next article.