The Last Will Be First

– [Jon] Throughout human history, Many societies have been led By some kind of king or ruler. And when that king dies, He passes down his power and inheritance To his firstborn son. – [Tim] This is often called
the right of the firstborn Or the birthright. – [Jon] And this practice
wasn't just for kings But also for families. – [Tim] Yeah, fathers would
pass on their authority To the firstborn as the rightful
heir of the family estate. – [Jon] But what if the firstborn son Isn't the most qualified? What if they're bad for the job? – [Tim] Yeah, history has shown That firstborns often
abuse their birthright, Using it for personal gain
leading to conflict and violence. – [Jon] Now, the Bible came into existence In a culture where the
right of the firstborn Was normal and taken for granted. – [Tim] But interestingly,
in the story of the Bible God consistently overturns
this cultural norm. – [Jon] Really? – [Tim] Yeah, from the beginning God regularly selects the
younger sibling, the late-comer, And gives them the birthright. For example, in the story
of the first two brothers, God elevates the second-born, Abel, over Cain, His firstborn brother. – [Jon] Oh, right. And later God says that the
blessing and the inheritance Will go to Isaac, Abraham's second-born, Instead of Ishmael, his first.

– [Tim] And then when Isaac has two sons, God promises that the younger one, Jacob, Will have authority Over his older brother Esau
and inherit God's blessing. – [Jon] I'm seeing a clear pattern. – [Tim] And it continues later. When Israel wants a king of their own, They choose this tall,
powerful ruler named Saul Who then has a firstborn
son named Jonathan. But God chooses the next king
from a low status family, A boy named David, who is the
youngest among eight brothers. – [Jon] So for the God of the Bible, The birthright doesn't
necessarily belong to those Who are first or most important. – [Tim] Right, God consistently challenges Human-made systems of power and value That tend towards abuse and
he turns them upside down. – [Jon] But this doesn't end
all the conflict in the Bible. Often the older sibling is
furious about being passed up. – [Tim] True, and just as
often, the younger sibling Who gets the birthright
abuses their power too. In fact, almost all the wars And conflicts in the Bible are
framed as sibling rivalries. – [Jon] You mean violence Between actual brothers
like Cain killing Abel? – [Tim] Yes, but also the tribes And nations that descend from
these earlier sibling rivals. If you track with all the
genealogies in the biblical story You see that everybody's related. It's a huge family feud. – [Jon] So whether the
older or the younger Gets the authority, the
human family is stuck In a never ending sibling rivalry
over who gets to be first. – [Tim] And so here we have
to turn to the story of Jesus.

His earliest followers
called him the firstborn Of all creation. – [Jon] The firstborn of creation. What does that mean? – [Tim] It's a statement
that describes his status. In the New Testament, Jesus is portrayed as God become human. The eternal son of God
who brought creation Into being and has all authority. – [Jon] So if anyone deserves The ultimate birthright, it's Jesus. – [Tim] Yes, and Jesus did claim That God's royal power was arriving In a new way through himself,
but it was power redefined. – [Jon] Yeah, Jesus said
that if you want to be first You need to become last. – [Tim] And he said that people With real authority are those who serve. In fact, this redefinition
of power is explored In an early Christian poem about Jesus. – [Jon] While he was
in his very nature God, He didn't exploit his equality
with God for self-advantage. Rather, he emptied himself
of status and power And became a servant. – [Tim] Jesus joined the
poor and served them. And instead of fighting his
rivals, he served them too. Jesus showed that true power is displayed Through self-giving love. – [Jon] But Jesus did
confront those in power. – [Tim] Yes, he challenged
Israel's leaders For using their power
to benefit themselves At the expense of the many. – [Jon] And that's what got him killed. Like angry firstborn sons,

The leaders leveraged their
power to have Jesus executed. – [Tim] But you can't really kill The firstborn over creation. He's the author of life itself. And so Jesus rose from the dead
and he was elevated as ruler Over Heaven and Earth, and
this earned him a new title: The firstborn from among the dead. – [Jon] Then Jesus told his followers That all of his authority, His birthright and this blessing, He was sharing it with them
as sisters and brothers. – [Tim] So that they
could create communities That are a new kind of family, Ordered by a Jesus style
redefinition of power. – [Jon] These are families
that set aside rivalries And invite everyone to
share the responsibility Of being sons and daughters
in a new royal family. – [Tim] And when Jesus' people discover That real power is love, That's when they truly become
the family of the firstborn.

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