The Inextinguishable Influence of Jesus
Two thousand years ago a baby was born in Bethlehem of Judea. He was named Jesus. Since His birth, His name has filled twenty-one centuries of human history. E M. Blaiklock, who held the Chair of Classics at the University of Auckland and taught Latin, Greek, and Ancient History for more than four decades, wrote, “Times change. Habits change. Nations and men disastrously forget their history. They never forget Jesus of Nazareth” (8).
His life on Earth was an actual, historical life and not a fairy tale. One of the men whom He personally selected to continue His work following His decease was a fisherman named Simon Peter. In one of Peter’s epistles of correspondence to fellow followers of Jesus he wrote, “. . . [W]e did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16). Earlier, in another document, Peter had written that Jesus “was manifest in these last times for you” (1 Peter 1:20). The word manifest is from a word that means to be made visible and refers to His appearance in the world (cf. Arndt and Gingrich 860).
Jesus is as real in human history as any one of us who is now living on Earth. Yet, His influence is greater and more far-reaching than any. There is no evidence that He owned any property in the world and yet He is embedded in the world’s history, art, music, literature, government, and political arenas. As Robert G. Lee eloquently affirmed:
. . .[T]his Holy Spirit-begotten, virgin-born Christ, whom neither calendar, nor clocks, nor contemporary historians took note of, bent the date lines of all nations around His manger cradle. Today, the whole world over, the dates printed on newspapers, checks drawn, deeds recorded, letters written, monies coined, corner stones placed, monuments erected, documents filed, so testify. . . . [W]hat the Jews could not do, what the Greeks could not do, what the Romans could not do, what the French could not do in the matter of dating time, Jesus did. Cradled in a manger in a stable, this timeless Christ, Christianized the calendar of the world. (13-14)
At the very moment these words are being written there is at work throughout the world a militant effort to eradicate the influence of Jesus Christ. However, such will ultimately fail. The brilliant linguist, Ernest Renan of France, who, in his inaugural lecture at the College de France in 1862, denounced Christ’s divinity, remarked concerning the glorious Christ:
Rest now in thy glory, noble initiator. Thy word is completed; thy divinity is established. . . . [T]housands of years will extol thee. Banner of our contradictions, thou wilt be the sign around which will be fought the fiercest battles. . . . [T]hou wilt become to such a degree the cornerstone of humanity that to tear thy name from this world would be to shake it to its foundations. (212)
His glory and love grows sweeter as the years go by.
Arndt, William F., and Wilbur F. Gingrich. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Christian Literature. 1957. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1973.
Blaiklock, E. M. Who Was Jesus? Chicago: Moody, 1974.
Lee, Robert G. The Top Ten of Robert G. Lee. 1971. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1976.
Renan, Ernest. The Life of Jesus. 1863. Buffalo: Prometheus, 1991.