Jesus would have died for you if you were the only person alive.
This is a concept I've heard on and off for a long time, but I can think of no basis in the bible to back it up. Both my wife and I see Jesus as going to the cross because of the glory set before Him (a complex set of ideas in a single phrase) rather than because He was 'thinking of me' to follow a recent idiom (I'm pretty sure He didn't think of me personally at all, and I'm not deliberately sniping at THAT song).
I would be interested to know, do you agree with the idea of Jesus dying for you alone and specifically, or do you see Him doing it from obedience and because of what His death would do to creation? I'd love to hear why you believe what you do. Answers with too many long words may be mocked.
Thanks David, particularly for expanding the 'glory' bit.
Thanks, also, for the emphasis on the family/nation/body/bride....
I don't think it's ever selfish when God/Jesus seeks glory - mainly because it's fitting for Him to do so.
But second, in that context of Hebrews 12:2 - the glory set before him is clearly laid out in the following phrase - "and is seated at the right hand of God". IE, the glory of being rewarded The Throne. In other words, He did it for the reward. That reward includes a throng of loyal followers - us.
Every translation I've looked at says "for the joy set before him".... and none of them say he did it for the throne. They say that he is now on the throne, but that comes later in the verse. And I equate "the Throne" with something much wider than a loyal band of followers.
Amen, a lot of good reading in this thread.
I seem to be the rare one who isn't bothered by the afore-mentioned statement. For me, its part of a teaching that one can find in scripture as there are plenty of instances where the individuality of God's love for us is taught - the parable of the one lost sheep, the sparrow that falls and God knows about it, or best of all, the lost coin:
“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?  And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’  Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:8-10 ESV)
I think the point that I would make is that neither individuality nor collective-ness are subordinate in God's mind. He loves us as individuals and each of our names are written in the book of life - each one. It's not beyond his ability to think of each and every one of us at any given time. But He simultaneously has a plan that is much bigger than each of us. Each are taught in scripture separately I believe. So unless we insist that the whole picture is taught every time, it seems fine to think about His individual love for us at times. (FYI - I don't know the rest of the song...)
I don't know, thoughts?
The big sticking point of the song "Above All" (which seems to be the big white worship elephant in the room that no one has specifically mentioned yet) is the last few lines, and the last one in particular:
"Crucified, laid behind a stone" (okay, tracking so far)
"You lived to die, rejected and alone" (um, not really, since there were two others crucified right next to him and a crowd of people standing near, but I guess in some sense everyone dies alone)
"Like a rose trampled on the ground" (a bit of extra-Biblical poetic imagery, but okay)
"You took the fall and thought of me above all." (Huh?)
Of course, none of us can prove from Scripture that Jesus WASN'T thinking of each one of us above all others as He was dying on the cross (since Scripture doesn't have a whole lot to say about what exactly was going through Jesus's mind as He was dying on the cross beyond the few words He spoke while on the cross); but that last line throws a distinctively me-centered monkey wrench into an otherwise excellent and Christ-centered song - it reinforces every stereotype about me-centered Christianity and me-centered worship that many of us have been fighting for years to rid the church of in order to get the focus of worship back onto God and His work for His glory.
If the last line could have been phrased differently (such as some statement to the effect that Jesus's death on the cross was the supreme act of love above all others) then the song would be a classic.
Just my thoughts...
I prefer to think "You took the fall" refers to Jesus' bearing our sins (Isaiah 53) and our griefs (there's the rose trampled, I think). Again, in that Isaiah passage, and in Psalm 22, we see the Savior essentially alone in that He has been rejected, forsaken even by his closest friends.
"Me, above all" doesn't mean "Me, more than other people", but I think more along the lines that His first thoughts were of those who were crucifying Him -- "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
There is a convention in songwriting, not just today, but in earlier years, that says it focuses the attention of the singer if "me" is used instead of "we" -- that way we cannot fob off the responsibility for what the song is trying to teach us. "I love You, God" is tougher to sing if we are contemplating secret sin than "We love you, God".
A God who didn't think about me? Yes - but not just me me. Billions of me's, collectively the world He loves, and died for.
I kind of thought "me above all" was related to Philippians 2:3:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (ESV)
That is, to add to your point.
But even so, it's probably a poor choice of words. But then, I've rarely accused anyone of writing superb lyrics - Christian or Non-Christian. We can't all be Robert Hunter.
Yes indeedy, it relates to the Philippians 2 song. And I guess I'm going to learn about Robert Hunter today! Google tells me he wrote for the Grateful Dead -- I have THREE Jerry Garcia neckties, yet have never bothered to find out what they sang. Here goes!
As an example of his stellar writing, you can't do better than "Brown Eyed Women". But also, "Mississippi Half Step" and "Might as Well".
If I remember correctly, it was kind of a similar arrangement to Taupin/John.
Fine writing indeed; and when you're pushing 65, "Brown-Eyed Women" really gets to ya. Hard enough to handle Taco Bell, let alone grenadine.