Just for fun lets take a look at the top ten biblical heroes. We’ll make the criteria for our top ten list lasting influence, holiness and devotion to the Lord. I’m going to have to split this up over two posts….
10. Joshua – Honourable mentions here to everyone from Aaron to Zachariah. The bible is full of great men of God but I had to draw the line somewhere. Just as Christ leads us into the promised land of eternal life, Joshua led the people of Israel into the promised land of Canaan. Joshua was a great military leader and an incredibly faithful servant having been Moses’ assistant for forty years before accepting the mantle of leadership for himself. He was a man of faith and vision who wasn’t afraid to kick some giant man tale. His life was lived with wholehearted devotion to God and his influence lived on for generations as the tribes of Israel established themselves in Canaan. On a side note, due to Joshua’s armies efforts in marching until the wall of Jericho collapsed I always imagine Joshua looking like Chris Jericho from the WWE. But thats’ not in the bible….well the wall of Jericho is but not Chris Jericho….but Chris Jericho had a move called the Wall of Jericho…I’m going to move on now before this gets worse.
9. Peter – Really should have ranked in the top five but just couldn’t consistently put it all together. He’s the Mickey Rourke of ministry. He had incredible highs and incredible lows, went off the rails for a while but then got his stuff together and you know he appreciates what’s been done for him all the more because of it. When you look at him you can’t help but think that he should have had Paul’s career (just like Mickey Rourke should have had Pacino or DeNiro’s). Then again that may have been the sovereign hand of God at work. All in all, Peter was the leader of the apostles, leader of the early church and a terrific teacher who God worked miracles through but he had continuing ethnic issues, religious issues and he was once called Satan by Christ (ouch!). His lasting influence is incredibly significant when you think about his prominence in the gospels and the first twelve chapters of Acts, not to mention him authoring two books of scripture. In the grand scheme of things though I just couldn’t rank him higher than ninth.
8. Luke – In many ways he’s the anti-Peter. Whereas Peter was rash and combative, Luke was patient, methodical and always happy to be somewhere else when a fight was on. I mean it, look it up in Acts. Luke often speaks in the second person plural to describe when he was traveling with Paul on his missionary journeys but when a fight breaks out all of a sudden its ‘they’ and ‘them’. Still, Luke ends up as the author of approximately a quarter of the New Testament and was witness to some of the most amazing moments in the early church’s history. If not for his work then we would only know of the early church from what we could glean from the Apostles epistles. Thanks to him we have amazing historical insight into how the early church grew and how the gospel spread.
7. Joseph – Another honorable mention here, this time to Daniel. I couldn’t include both him and Joseph in the top ten under the rule I just made up that says ‘you can’t have two people who were taken captive to a foreign land and then rose to become the second most powerful man in the country’. Ultimately I had to give the nod to Joseph because the lasting influence of his rise to power in Egypt had more significance for the history of the people of God than Daniel’s did. You could make a definite case that Daniel lived a holier life than Joseph (try and find a negative work about Daniel in scripture, you can’t) but despite his youthful arrogance Joseph lived an amazing life of integrity himself. By having a servant heart as a slave and as a prisoner he was ultimately given the keys to the kingdom, gave the Israelites protection from famine and established them in a place where their number would grow to over a million people over the next four hundred years. Also, on top of everything he had to forgive the brothers whose actions had led him into captivity to begin with. Its Joseph by an inch.
6. John the Baptist – Ok, Ok . As I said in my post on Why Batman Needs Jesus, technically speaking John the Baptist was the greatest man ever born of a woman. But this isn’t the ‘greatest man ever’ top ten, its the top ten ‘biblical heroes judged by my own made up criteria’. So please no accusations that I’m arguing with Jesus here :) John is a hero not just because of his bold calls to repentance as Christ’s herald but also for his honest endurance of doubt. In prison he struggles to come to grip with God’s plan for him and sends his disciples to ask if Jesus really was the messiah. Despite receiving no promise from Christ that he would set him free he died a martyr who inspires us all. Also working in his favour was his ability to rock the craziest diet and fashion sense in the bible. Locusts, honey and camel hair?! Him and Posh Spice would get along great! John’s whole life was about preparing the way for Christ and and he is a worthy member of the top ten.