by Christopher Harbin

No Competition
Christopher B. Harbin
Acts 4:5-12

There is no competition for those who are truly supreme. For most of us, that phrase does not apply in the least. We might be good at some things, but there are very few who excel so far beyond the pack that they are in a class by themselves. Oh, we might want to think highly of ourselves, but that really only works as long as we compare ourselves within a small group of people, like the big fish in the small pond. Even so, we often get caught up in the act of trying to make ourselves out to be superior to others, ostensibly, superior to everyone, all the while knowing that it is a farce, yet trying as we might to convince ourselves of our superiority. In order to accomplish it, we generally resort to demeaning others to make ourselves shine brighter. On the other hand, there are too many of us doing the very same thing, and we tend to encounter too much competition in that same market of oneupmanship and condescension. The only real way out is to give up on competition as a lost cause.

The disciples had been involved in competition for importance and position in Jesus' kingdom. They had been jockeying for status right up to the moment of Jesus' arrest. Peter had pulled out a sword to defend Jesus against the mob of guards, seriously believing that Jesus would back him up and turn the tables on their crowd of enemies. Well, in one sense he did, as one of the gospel writers records that when Jesus asked them who they had come to arrest, they fell to the ground when he answered their response with ''I am.'' Even so, Jesus gave himself over to those coming to arrest him, without putting up a fight. He was not concerned with competition for superiority, just with following God's plan for reconciliation and redemption.

Jesus had spoken to the disciples rather directly about issues of competition for supremacy, but his words took time to sink in. It is in Acts chapter 4 that we see them finally sinking in for Pe ...

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