matter who you are—regardless of whether you’re a believer or not—you’ve got to
admit that Jesus is without a doubt the most significant and influential figure
in all of human history. His life among us was (and is) so significant that all
of history pivots around him. In fact, his very birth caused historians to
divide history’s yardstick between B.C. and A.D. Granted, there have been many heroines
and heroes that have emerged in the course of human history; people that have
sacrificed themselves for the sake of others, defied the odds, righted wrongs,
and otherwise left their transformative mark on the pages of history, but all
pale in comparison to this humble, seemingly uneducated peasant from
Why is that? What is it about Jesus that sets him so far apart from all the rest? From a purely historical standpoint, it’s kind of baffling when you think about it. It’s not like he pioneered a healthcare system or built hospitals for the poor people in Palestine. He didn’t open a network of half-way houses for the region’s orphans and widows. There’s absolutely no historical evidence of Jesus ever spearheading a philanthropic foundation or chairing a benevolent society. So, just what was it that Jesus did in his short 33 year life that so changed the fabric of human history? Historians have spent the last 20 centuries wrestling with that question, and will no doubt spend the next 20 doing the same.
Thankfully, as Christians, we’re not called to be historians, but rather imitators of Jesus. That being said, I think what’s really important is simply this: Jesus lived…he became flesh and lived among us. What’s more, Jesus didn’t just preach the gospel, he lived it. He didn’t reduce his message to mere words. He communicated his message by loving people one person at a time. Jesus was what he talked about; he was the Good News personified.
While I believe that studying God’s Word is essential to Christian growth, sometimes in our quest to study the object of our faith, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s really important. Learning about the historical life of Jesus may be fascinating and give us a feeling of accomplishment, but all that knowledge is useless if we don’t live it. We’re not just called to receive and proclaim the Good News, but to actually live the Good News…to actually be the Good News in someone else’s life. The most effective way to spread the Gospel is to live the Gospel.
Your brother in Christ,