The Last Shall be First


The book of Ecclesiastes reminds us in 10:1,

“Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savor: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honor.”

What does it mean to have reputation? The Latin root tells us “reconsideration.” “to think again.”

Webster’s says, “overall quality or character as seen or judged by people in general. brecognition by other people of some characteristic or ability.”

So, reputation or “my qualifications as judged by others,” can be sullied by a dead fly?

Yes, a Kamikaze fly could destroy a good perfume, causing a stench.

But, Jesus made Himself of no reputation. He emptied Himself of qualifications; those judged by Men, but also real ones. see Philippians 2:7

What does that look like? Sounds like He refused to cling to an external judgement which stood on shaky ground, but also gave up practical rights to even His true person — the Son of God.

Men would make a “straw man” of Christ and His sayings. “He was a blasphemer, a wine-bibber, ate with publicans and sinners.” He plucked corn, violating the Sabbath

What does “straw man” mean? Here are some of the methods for creating one of a person:

Oversimplifying, generalizing, or exaggerating…

Focusing on only a few specific aspects 

Quoting out of context.

Arguing against fringe or extreme opinions which He didn’t actually use.

In other words, folks have a tendency to put a spin on things done or said of an individual, and can simply destroy a persons reputation at will. It only takes a dead fly — ex. suspicions, or putting subjective innuendo into the mix.

But Paul countered his accusations from defaming Men,

“I say again, Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little.” 2 Corinthians 11:16

In other words Paul is going to cite other men’s objections to his Apostleship and make them his credentials.

He compares himself to the false Apostles:

“Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.  Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.  Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;   In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;  In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness…”    2 Corinthians 11:23-27

” If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. ” 2 Corinthians 11: 30

Paul goes on, but what can we conclude?

The loss of our reputation can be our validation, certification, credential.

Jesus was despised and rejected of Men. We followers are not better than the Master.

Matthew 5:11: “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.”

  “Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven:”

Friends, throughout the Bible are stories of men and women hated simply because God favored them. Among these were Joseph, David, Jeremiah, and the list goes on.  Certainly we must avoid anything that would bring reproach to Christ’s name. But, Christian, God certainly favors you. Cast not away your confidence for the non-acceptance of Men, but rather recognize that shunning by the world is frankly the norm rather than the exception. Run again to His love, He will never forsake you. Love ya 

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