Last month, Steve Jobs, one of the most innovative software engineers of our time lost his battle with cancer. Even though many people thought his passing was insignificant, there is no denying how he revolutionized mp3 and application technology through Apple and the iPod. As we look back at his life there were a lot of similarities he had to Jesus Christ of the New Testament. Firstly, he changed the way we thought about and used old technology. Secondly, many people doubted him for being so revolutionary. Lastly, he was well aware of his demise before his passing due to his long battle with cancer. I believe that there is a good enough connection between Steve Jobs and Jesus that one can create a biography for the late software engineer based off the New Testament. There have been plenty of accounts of Steve Jobs, each with their own angle and purpose, that creating biography for would be a controversial, yet eye-opening endeavor. To fully understand the life of Steve Jobs, it would be best to retell it as the New Testament’s Gospel of Luke by making it an old-style biography.
The Life of Steve JobsEdit
Before recreating Steve Jobs’ biography, we must get to know his life, and everything he accomplished. Of course he was well known for being the co-founder and current CEO of Apple, however he was mainly the innovator who thought up and invented the iPod. In 1971, him and Steve Wozniak met to begin working on the Apple Computer. After a degree of mild success in the 1970s’ he was slowly able to attract investors and other computer technicians to his small company. In 1985 however, Jobs began to become erratic, and Apple’s ex-CEO fired him. Jobs briefly founded NeXT computers with a similar goal as he had when he founded Apple, but with a focus in innovation. This is when Steve Jobs claims he got many of his best ideas for future computer products. In 1996, Steve’s NeXT computers became so attractive to Apple that the company bought Steve and his innovations back for $429 million dollars. This allowed Steve to also become reinstated as the CEO of Apple. In the following years Steve was able to work together with Apple to finally create the iMac and the iPod, two major computer innovations that still last today. While Steve was the CEO of Apple, he made only $1 a year, but held billions in Apple stock. Since Apple was one of the fastest growing companies in the new millennium, Steve was able to only accumulate wealth.
The message I get from Steve Job’s occupational biography is that he was able to persevere among many doubters. Even though his own company denied him employment, he continued his mission of trying to change the world. In 1978, he was able to lure John Sculley, the former Vice President of Pepsi, to work for Apple’s business structure by telling him, “Do you want to keep selling sugar-water or do you want to change the world?” Steve competed against the doubters, as well as Microsoft, the leader of computer technology throughout most of the late 20th century. The iMac and iPod revolutionized a company that needed change. Today, there are many people that still criticize Apple products for how different they are from previous computer and software products, but many critics still believe it was a refreshing change. Steve Jobs’ life deserves to be recognized as facing adversity to make a great change in technology.
Steve Jobs had a second life, however, that was darker than his success. In 2003, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He refused treatment for nine months in order to continue his work for Apple. Steve believed he could combat it with a diet but failed to change his condition. For a long time he denied the fact that he had cancer from the media and those within Apple. In his press conferences, he would show his blood pressure reading and many other things to convince his doubters that he had a “common bug.” Despite all of his work to deny his illness, he kept running Apple and created innovation after innovation. It wasn’t until January of 2011 that he granted himself a medical leave of absence from Apple. Steve was not able to recover and died on October 5, 2011. Steve knew that his life was always in danger, and yet he continued to persist. This tells a lot about the overall character of Steve Jobs.
Jobs' and Jesus Comparison Edit
Jesus’s life had many similarities and controversies that are comparable to that of Steve Jobs. The biggest similarity is the theme of change through persistency. Both Jesus and Steve Jobs had many doubters and even people that fought against them in their goal to change the world. Looking at the Book of Luke’s account of Jesus, it’s apparent when Jesus was put on trial in front of Pilate how little he was liked among a specific crowd. As quoted, “they (Herod’s soldiers) kept on shouting at the top of their voices, demanding that he should be crucified” (143). Despite all of the things Jesus had done to represent his views before that moment meant nothing because of the people who hated him the most. The same could go for Steve Jobs when he was first fired from Apple. Steve’s erratic behaviors lead to his co-workers doubting his ability and vision, thus removing him from the company. As mentioned before, Jesus wanted to change vision of God towards the people of earth, and so revolutionized Judaism in Israel. As Jesus stated in the Gospel of Luke, “the Son of man will be ashamed when he comes in his own glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels (118).” Before Jesus, Judaism had no savior, but now there was a savior who was acting as a direct voice for God. Such a revolutionary change in Israel would naturally attract a lot of negative attention. Steve’s computers and software revolutionized computers in the new millennium by creating a new personal console to rival Microsoft. There were other companies trying to attempt the same, but none were as successful or attacked by Microsoft’s proponents as much as Apple computers were. The story and controversies of Steve Jobs and Jesus have many similarities that allow them to be viewed in similar lights.
Themes in The Gospel of Luke applicable to Steve JobsEdit
Moving forward, the life of Steve Jobs’ biography would naturally have many accounts. Steve’s controversy and followings were similar enough to Jesus that there have already been multiple accounts of his life. More so, the life of Steve Jobs should be written similarly to that of the Gospel of Luke. This is the best representation of Steve’s life because Jesus’ early life is also told, including his birth and childhood. This is important for Steve Job’s biography because the audience needs to understand how Steve began his fascination and work with computers. In all of the gospels it goes without saying that Jesus had always known he was the Son of God, but it is a nice touch how Luke goes into specifics.
Jesus’s personality is more apparent in Luke’s gospel than in the others within the New Testament. I personally see one major characteristic of Jesus’s personality. The first is actually a hint of arrogance. There is a scene where Jesus saves ten men with a skin disease. After only one turns back, Jesus states “Were not all ten made clean?...It seems that no one has come back to give praise to God…Stand up and go on your way. Your faith has saved you” (132). Jesus wants the attention to be toward himself and towards God in this moment, and there are many other scenes like this. Throughout the Gospel of Luke, Jesus proclaims emphatically that those who do not follow him will perish away from heaven. Perhaps this is a testament to the humbleness of man, but if Jesus were only a man, this would be an extremely negative characteristic. This is a similar trait many have described Steve Jobs as. The erratic and sometimes critical personality of Steve Jobs would shine in a biography written like the Gospel of Luke.
The last major characteristic of the Gospel of Luke is the structure of dialogue. Most of the Gospel of Luke is a dialogue between Jesus and somebody else. There is detail here and there, but it’s written to easily understand the situation and exactly what each person said to one another. The Last Supper is a famous scene from each gospel in the New Testament, and most of it in Luke’s gospel is, of course, an easily understood dialogue. This is another way to describe the personality of the individual and the exact situation. Steve Jobs’ biography would benefit as many of the most crucial moments in Steve’s life could only be described in dialogue. From Steve’s conversation with John Sculley, to his press conferences, there are countless moments that dialogue can best describe a scene.
Now that the themes are set for Steve’s biography, it can be told like Luke’s Gospel. The childhood and college life of Steve Jobs would be told first only as a mention and background to the story, even though it was an important detail. This is where the least amount of dialogue is seen throughout the entire biography. The origin of Apple occurs with Steve collaborating with his fellow technicians. Steve’s views of what a computer can and should be along with his idea for applications can be revealed here as Apple comes to life. As his arrogant side becomes more apparent with Apple’s rise, Steve begins to tell exactly what needs to be done towards his fellow technicians in order to create a successful company and change the world. The dialogue between Steve and John Sculley is very reminiscent of how Jesus sounds. Steve offers hope and salvation for business profit, but he tells John in a way as if he has only one choice and that what he has done has always been wrong. Steve’s co-workers are too shocked to believe what he is saying, and so they let him go. Despite losing his followers, similar to that of Peter denying Jesus, Steve would never lose focus and continue to push his vision of the personal computer using NeXT. Following his success and return to Apple, more begin to follow Steve and listen to his vision of the personal computer. Even though he still has doubters, the iPod, iMac, and iPad begin to change the world. Steve’s press conferences begin to attract more followers, as his dialogue attracts and tells specifically what he envisions in the personal computer. Many begin to tell of what Steve is capable of, even though he has always done so with a hint of arrogance. Near the end of Steve’s life, he denies that he is sick, even though he knows the truth in order to encourage others to go on. Steve continues to talk and converse with others on his beliefs, but dies shortly after despite his influence. The life of Steve Jobs ends with many details that fit so closely to the life of Jesus, but also the stylization of the Gospel of Luke.
Recreating Steve Jobs’ life starts by acquiring multiple accounts of his life, specifically focusing on the most important details and events. Since this has been done countless times by other biographers, the most appropriate New Testament gospel would be from Luke. The realism and personality that would go into Steve Jobs’ biography can be best taken and demonstrated by the Gospel of Luke’s themes. Even though this is a very controversial, I have willingly compared a software engineer to the Son of God, to portray how basic story-telling methods can shape and transform an opinion of an individual. Structuring Steve Jobs’ biography, or any new biography should be successful in portraying an idea of an influential life.
Wansbrough, Henry. The New Testament of the New Jerusalem Bible: with Complete Introduction and Notes. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1986. Print.