He Chose Last (and I’m thankful): A Bullfighters story
“One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important? “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12.28-31)
A teacher of the law posed this question: “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
Jesus answers simply, (and I’m paraphrasing): “Love God with all you have, and love others like you love yourself”
Jesus points out the place we should take in relationship to God and others. Jesus tells the teacher: Mission—Men—Me. We take last.
In the video above, Daniel Unruh chose last. Jesus tells the teacher is that we are to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” This is our primary function, our mission if you will, as human beings. We were created to love God and be in relationship with Him. Daniel’s mission as a bullfighter is to keep the bullrider safe. Daniel, in the purple, is seen twice trying to get Jess Pope’s hand out of the bull rope. Twice he wades in there to grab the tail and pull. Daniel’s first mission is to protect the bullrider.
The second thing Jesus tells the teacher is to love other people (31). He says, love the men (and women) around you! We do this by serving those around us and bearing each other’s burdens. I am in the dark blue shirt in the video. As I was laying infront the bull, I looked up to see a set of horns coming at me and then a flash of purple. Daniel had placed himself between the horns of the bull to take the shot for me. The second purpose, after protecting the bullrider, is to protect the other men in the arena. Some times it’s a gate man, the other bullfighter, a pick up man or barrel man. Everyone else in the arena are the bullfighters responsibility as well.
If we are to love God and then others, where does that leave us? Last place. In the grand scheme of things, Jesus shows us that last place in the hierarchy is where we are to live, to die, to thrive! Daniel chooses last every time in the arena. He has takes shots for bullriders all the time. He has taken shots for me, because he understands that he lives in last place. He is the last one to safety. He lives by the motto:
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15.13)
Jesus spoke these words the night he would be betrayed. The night that he showed the disciples the full extent of his love (John 13.1) and told them to copy him (13.34-35). Jesus chose last!
It was in the garden he prayed: “God, not what I will but what you will.” (Mark 14.36) Jesus stayed on mission following God to the cross. He came behind his men, as he came “not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10.45). He gave up the himself, on the cross. “With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.” (Mark 15.37) In the hierarchy, he chose last.
As you go through the day, how often do you live in first place, choosing your way instead of God’s? How often do you get off-mission? How may times are you serving others? Holding a door open? Taking the trash of another? Letting someone ahead of you? inconveniencing yourself to convenience others? When do other men come before you? How often does “me” choose last?