Ground Breaking and Earth Shattering!

By Troy Humphrey

The math world was turned upside down recently.  The Fields medal, the mathematician's equivalent of the Nobel Prize, is only given out once every four years.  This year marks two firsts in its ninety year history.  Here's the backstory.

In February 1998, a bus bringing the mathematical elite of Tehran's Sharif University back from a competition in the western city of Ahwaz skidded out of control and crashed into a ravine.

Seven award-winning mathematicians and two drivers lost their lives in the crash. One of the survivors was Maryam Mirzakhani, who this week became the first woman – and also the first Iranian – to win the Fields medal.  (Excerpt from

Because of her widespread acclaim, there have been other 'firsts' worth mentioning.  Iranian President Hassan Rouhani risked a backlash from hardliners by posting her picture without a hijab on Twitter. "Congrats to #MaryamMirzakhani on becoming the first ever woman to win the #FieldsMedal, making us Iranians very proud," Rouhani tweeted on Wednesday along with two pictures of Mirzakhani, one with a headscarf and the other without.

One Iranian, highlighting the controversy surrounding Rouhani's tweet, joked: "I congratulate Maryam Mirzakhani with or without hijab but we will arrest you when you come back to Iran because of your unveiled photo."  (It doesn't sound too funny to me!)

The state-run Iran newspaper digitally retouched her photograph to put a scarf over her head while the reformist Shargh published a sketch showing only her face. 

As we have been learning in 'The Story', Jesus entered this world to bring about several 'firsts'.

Paul writes in Colossians 1:16-18:  "By Him all things were created in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions, rulers or authorities, all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things and in Him all things hold together.  He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that in all things He might have the first place".

Jesus is First Cause

"He is the beginning..."

Jesus is First Born

"...the firstborn from the dead..."

Jesus has First Place

"...the first place in everything..."

And like Maryam Mirzakhani, Jesus gets mixed press.  The question is:  Does He have first place in YOUR life?