Ask anybody: “Who are the great men in human history?” Likely you will hear names such as Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Napoleon, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, or perhaps even Ronald Reagan. What do these men have in common? What made them great? They were successful because they were powerful, and with this power they changed the course of history by their heroic actions, or by ruling countries or even whole continents.
How different these “great men” are when compared to the person of Jesus of Nazareth!
Jesus had little of what made these great men of history great: certainly no political clout, no military machine, no war chest. Most of us know the basic facts about Jesus’ life and ministry, but still, read the following summary of the powerful impact of His message, His death and His resurrection:
“Jesus was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman.
He grew up in another village where He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty.
For three years He was a travelling preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He fathered no family; he owned no home. He didn’t go to college. He never visited a big city. He never travelled more than two hundred miles from the place where He was born. He did none of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but himself. He was only thirty-three when the tide of public opinion turned against Him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
While He was dying, His executioners gambled for His garments, the only property He had on earth. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
Twenty centuries have come and gone, and today He is the central figure of the human race. All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man on this earth, as much as that one solitary life.“
How different is Jesus compared to the great world leaders. Alexander the Great and Napoleon were fabled warriors – Jesus never held a sword or led an army. George Washington liberated his people from foreign occupation – Jesus never raised even His voice against the Roman occupiers of His country. Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan were all elected to head powerful governments – Jesus never ran for office. He never marshaled the power of government to enforce social changes. Most renowned leaders have been wealthy– Jesus owned little and lived with the poor. And lastly, all great world leaders were famous during their lifetime, but are dead now – Jesus died as a criminal and was executed by crucifixion, but His death was the birth of Christianity.
Jesus of Nazareth is by far the greatest person in history. He did not pursue the agendas which made others great, still He towers above them all. He turned the world upside down as no one had done before or has done after Him. Now one-third of the world population calls themselves His followers, Christians, and even those who do not follow Him still experience the impact He had, has had, and will have on the world. This observation alone sets Him aside from all others.
About the author:
Rob VandeWeghe is a skeptic turned Christian by studying the foundations for Christianity. Rob’s book ‘Prepared to Answer’ and more evidences for Christianity are available at www.WindmillMinistries.org.
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