Why? Frequently, one of the only reasons people do not want to turn to Christ isn't because they do not believe in him or do not believe in God - it's because they don't want to change the way they live their life. The Bible calls for a drastic inner change - a change of lifestyle, a change of heart.
Alright, so let's say you are a skeptic, a critic. Let's take a look at the impact that Jesus of Nazareth has had on history. No single person in the entire history of the world has affected history as much as Jesus has. Jesus is the most well-known figure in history, as well.
Here is an example. The secular encyclopedia, Britannica, devoted 21,000 words to Jesus Christ, holding as the largest of the biographies, surpassing that of former US President Bill Clinton - his was a mere 2,511 words. The story of a young carpenter from a small village who would later go on to become the single most influential person in all of human history, even to this day, nearly 2,000 years after his death by crucifixion, is not one crafted by creative minds.
In what ways has he influenced our world? Millions of churches across the world have been build and carried out in his name, thousands of charities and foundations, hospitals, colleges and universities, many lives have been improved by the teachings of Jesus. The calendar we typically use is based around his birth - BC means Before Christ, AD means Anno Domini. (In the Year of our Lord) Some mistakenly believe that AD means After Death, however, but Christ was born around 3/4 BC and died between 30-33 AD.
Many works of art, literature, music, films, plays, and other such things have been influenced by Jesus. The holidays of Christmas and Easter are based on the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Most of the world in the last 2,000 years has at least once heard of Jesus. Not everyone, such as people living on islands or in the jungle, but most of the world has heard of Jesus. Who else in the entire history of humanity can compare, influential-wise? None.
Scholars have often found the teachings of Jesus to be most wise and astute. At the very least, they hold Jesus in regard as a great teacher. Jesus was only in the public eye for around three and a half years, and is more well-known and influential than even the big three philosophers: Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato. Those three philosophers had around a total of 150 years in the public eye.
Across the globe, for centuries, people have been deeply influenced by Jesus. Some claim that he was a prophet, God in human form, that he was the Messiah promised to the Jews. Christians who face persecutions endure untold terror for the very name of Jesus, and will not renounce him. It began with the stoning of the apostle Stephen. (Acts 7:54-59)
Authors over the past 2000 years have felt compelled to write about Jesus. Writers of the second century for example, Tertullian or even Irenaeus, supported the accounts written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Many more joined in the support.
Take H.G. Wells for example. Known for such works as The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, War of the Worlds, and many others, he had written a 1200 page volume titled "The Outline of History." Wells was a Darwin supporter, and not a believer. He was startled when he had completed to manuscript, to find that two pages had been devoted to his hero, Plato, and that there was a total of forty-one pages devoted to Jesus Christ - larger than any other historical figure in the work.
|(From "The Gospel of John")|
If these magazines cover hot topics and current events, why dredge up events that are 2000 years old? In the last seventy years, Christianity itself has been featured on the cover of Time magazine more than sixty-five times. So why is this simple Jewish carpenter from a small village so popular and influential?
Matthew 8, Mark 8, and Luke 9 records and exchange between Jesus Christ and his disciples. "When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, 'Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?' So they said, 'Some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.' He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' Simon Peter answered and said, 'You are the Christ [which means Messiah], the Son of the Living God.' Jesus answered and said to him, 'Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 16:13-17)
Now, we need to consider that Peter did not fully understand the implications of this statement, but knowing full-well what would occur soon, Jesus knew exactly what he would say. The question can be asked of us, "Who do men say I am?" Men tend to say that Jesus was nothing more than a historical figure, but history proves otherwise. "Who do you say that I am?" Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, sent from Heaven to pay the penalty for all of the past, present, and future sins of humanity, leading a humble life of a carpenter, having a ministry that lasted for three and a half years.
There is no doubting that Jesus is the most influential person in history. Jesus will continue to fascinate and intrigue the world until the end. Men will try to disprove his existence or even his claims, but we hold these truths to be self-evident. Jesus himself said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6) Jesus, the most intriguing, fascinating person in all of history is the very one whom God sent to save us, if we would only just believe and accept him.
If we were to take a look at each and every way that Jesus Christ has influenced history, has influenced culture, religion, society, life in general, politics, economics, and what have you, I suppose we would be sitting here for quite a while indeed, for no one man can determine what a major impact Jesus Christ has had upon the lives of billions of people in history - and the effect that he continues to have on us today.
Jesus is the founder of Christianity, which in itself is the fulfillment of Judaism - the final offering has paid for all sins, all we have to do is accept the sacrifice and accept him as Lord and Savior, and we will be saved. Jesus will forever hold the title of the most influential person in history, and will remain so. I trust this entry has shed light on a few things, and that you have gleaned insight from it. May God bless you. Troy Hillman