Steve Jobs: A Messiah in our Midst?

By October 6, 2011Different

“If today were the last day of my life, would I do what I am about to do today?” 

                                                              –Steve Jobs, Stanford Commencement Address 2005

I wasn’t planning on writing a post about Steve Jobs.  It seemed that the world had plenty to share and the myriad of Facebook messages, blog posts, articles, photos, and heartfealt wishes more than accounted for what I could add, and then I received a phone call from someone very dear to me.  He asked me if I’d seen the Stanford Commencement Address, and I responded I had, several years ago while living in China.  “Watch it again! Watch the part where he talks about death.  Watch how he talks about life.  Look at the people all over the world.  Look at the memorials outside the Apple stores.  Look at how he brought everyone who wanted to be connected together.  His creativity.  His technology.  His invetiveness.  He merged technology with the existance of life, and he advanced the human race and our ability to connect with one another.  A Messiah was in our midst, and we didn’t even know it.”

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

That thought seems radical.  I looked up “Messiah” in the Etymology dictionary.  Most of it references Christianity and the expected deliverer of the Jewish nation.  Well, I don’t think of Steve Jobs as that kind of Messiah.  I prefer to focus on the part towards the end, which defines a Messiah as an “expected liberator or savior of a captive people.”

Although many of us live in free nations or don’t like to think of ourselves as captives, we have all at one time, been captive to an old idea about how do to things or a way of being that no longer serves us, our community, and possibly humanity.   Steve Jobs liberated a captive people by showing them life could be different.  Technology could be different.  Design and the way humanity progresses all can be different.  He revolutionized the user / computer experience, and it was literally something out of Star Trek when they announced the other day that the new iPhone 4s would be directed by voice commands.

If we look at the people who truly made the world different, they are the ones who absolutely loved what they did, took risks, fell on their faces, and perservered.  As Jobs mentioned in his commencement address, even when he got fired from Apple, he described it as: “I’d been rejected, but I was still in love.”

The beauty in life is that although we may know of prophets like Buddha, Muhammad, Jesus, etc. and greats like Martin Luther King, Amelia Earheart, Mother Teresa, Gandhi, and countless others like them who have lived a message of freedom and peace, we can live that message too.  There are the Mary Teresa Boone’s (my beloved grandmother), the Elvira’s (the janitor at work who always has a smile), and the Mr. Hoff’s (a religion teacher of mine in high school) who may not make the headlines but are living their lives and making a difference every day in the world around them.  We might not all be Messiahs, or maybe we are our own Messiahs, liberating ourselves from captive ideas and ushering in a new global way of being.  We each bring light and an important message to the world, just by being here.  We are all part of the universe, and we are all connected.

He lived by example and showed us with every passing day that all you really have to do in life is to be yourself, whoever that is: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

Thank you, Steve Jobs, for your life and for your vision.  Mostly, thank you for showing us that being different is a gift, that thinking different is a must, and that all those that choose to be connected, can.

**Note: All the quotes are from Steve Job’s Stanford Commencement address in 2005.**

Join the discussion 17 Comments

  • I had no idea who Steve Jobs was until yesterday I saw all of the posts re his death on facebook and followed a link to the video on you tube. I was blown away by his speach, he truly was inspirational and what he said really rang true for me. Thank you!

  • Currie Rose says:

    I love this post! Amazing and so well written. 🙂

  • I’ve followed Steve Jobs from the beginning. A true visionary who will be surely missed.

  • Maybe his name will become synonmous with inspiration! and the will to keep going when the going gets tough, or we lose our spirit and drive. Great piece.

  • He is one of great influence that made me to post in “Things I should and should not do during recession”. Steve was very poor in the beggining. How did me make the success then? People should believe in themselves. We don’t have to become wealthy as Steve Jobs. But, we still can get what we need 🙂

  • Jessica says:

    Jackie, I love how you continue to encourage others through your post. Nobody can deny the profundity of Jobs’s contributions–and the impression he has made on the lives of 21st century individuals. Of course I don’t agree that Jobs should be called messiah.

    Messiah and Christ are synonymous.

    The Hebrew word translated into English as Messiah, means the anointed one. In the Old Testament this is always the anointed one of the Lord. In the Old Testament, prophets, priests, and kings were known to be anointed. Oil was poured over them, by a person appointed by God, as a sign that they were chosen by God.

    When the Old Testament, written in Hebrew, was translated into Greek, the word was translated as Khristos. In the New Testament, that Greek word Khristos, the Hebrew word Messiah, was applied to Jesus. He was the Christ, the anointed one! As the Christ, he filled all three offices of those who were anointed in the Old Testament. Jesus was prophet, priest, and king. As prophet, he was the Word of God in the flesh. As priest, he served in the line of Melchizedek (the first priest of the Lord in the Bible, before the priestly order was given on Mount Sinai), not a Levite, because he wasn’t from the tribe of Levi, but from the tribe of Judah, the tribe from which the royal line of Israel came.

    The Jews from God’s Word came to expect a coming Messiah, one to liberate them from bondage from the Romans. However, the Messiah, the Christ came to liberate all of mankind from the bondage of sin and slavery – a task that only someone who was fully God and fully man could achieve.

    To say that Jobs was a Messiah, or that we are our own Messiahs, it is highly lessening the meaning of the word and the context from which the word derives. A messiah is truly a person anointed of God, a prophet, someone who speaks the Word of God to mankind, a priest, a person who serves as intermediary between people and God, and a king, a chosen representative to reign on earth in God’s stead.

    This isn’t to lessen the great accomplishments and contributions of Jobs, or even the possibilities of all our contributions. Wasn’t it Campbell who said what we are most afraid of is that greatest within? I believe Jobs is definitely up there with Copernicus, who had the audacity to go against everyone and claim the earth is round. Right up there with Edison, and some of the other great people you have mentioned. However often we look at a light bulb and praise the creator while being blinded and kept alive by the sun.

    I enjoyed reading your post, as usual. Much love.

    • Jacqueline says:

      Hi Jess!

      First off, I want to thank you for reading and for your thought-provoking and eloquent comment. We have had many wonderful communications about religion and spirituality, and I’m glad that we’re adding this to the conversation.

      This post is meant as an exploration of the idea of Messiah. When my friend suggested that Jobs might be a Messiah, I was taken back by such a powerful and potentially blasphemous statement. There is only one Jesus, one Buddha, one Muhammad. I do not believe that Jobs was a Messiah according to your definition or to the Biblical one, but I do believe he was a liberator of ideas and in that way, he greatly served humanity.

      It is under the second definition I found in the etymology dictionary that I suggested that we might be our own Messiahs, or “liberators of a captive people,” or person. We can liberate ourselves from restricted ways of thinking or being. We can realize our own divinity within and in that way, liberate and serve humanity because I believe each of us has a divine spark. In authentically expressing who we are, we share different aspects of the divine and become our own messengers to humanity. We demonstrate what is possible and in doing so, become lights unto the world.

      You are one of my dearest friends, and I love you very much! I’m so grateful that we can have these discussions, be it on a blog post, on the phone, or (my favorite) in person.

      Much love!
      Jackie

  • Luke Prater says:

    Great article. I’m a huge fan of Apple, whatever they say about that Corp (they struggled for many years against IBM and the Microsoft Monster just because they won the promotion race… far inferior products, hardware and software). I like Steve’s attitude and how normal and personable he seemed.

    Cheers

    Luke

  • fr3lancer says:

    Heyy,i had just one word running through my mind when i read your article – Sublime 🙂

    your way of putting things into perspective regarding Steve Jobs’ legacy and yet keeping it sombre was simply amazing!

    although your post was a brilliant one,and it might’ve not been intended to contain much,but a little more write-up of Jobs’ quotes would’ve made it more than perfect 🙂

    nontheless,priceless video !

    Take Care -Saurav from India 🙂

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