(1/4) Wow, another New Year is upon us. The Holidays are now over and the decorations are coming down and before the month is over we will have a new President of the United States Ė Mr. Donald trump. As I write this Mr. Trump is selecting his potential cabinet members. It is possible that America will see changes that it never imagined would or could
happen. But, neither Mr. Trump nor any other leader will impact the world as much as Jesus of Nazareth.
One Solitary Life
- He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman.
- He grew up in another obscure village, where He worked in a carpenter shop
- Until he was thirty when public opinion turned against Him.
- He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never went 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 usually associated with greatness. He had no credentials but himself
- He was only thirty-three. 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 dying, His executioners gambled for his clothing, the only property he had on earth
- When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
Nineteen centuries have come and gone and today Jesus is the central figure of the human race. And the leader of mankind's progress, All the armies that have ever marched, All the navies that have ever sailed, All the parliaments that have ever sat, All the kings that ever reigned put together, have not affected the life of mankind on earth as
powerfully as that one solitary life. (This essay was adapted from a sermon by Dr James Allan Francis in "The Real Jesus and Other Sermons" by the Judson Press of Philadelphia (pp 123-124 titled "Arise Sir Knight!").
The life of Jesus is used to mark all of history. Everything is either BC or AD. Before Christ or in the Year of our Lord. Even our Jewish friends, who donít want to speak of Jesus, use C.E. for the Common Era, or B.C.E. for Before the Common Era. But the common Era is still about Jesus.
Napoleon Bonaparte was reportedly having a discussion with one of his generals. The General believed that while Jesus was unique and perhaps a genius, he was still just a man; a very powerful, influential, and wise man Ė but just a man. Napoleon is reported to have replied, "I know men, and I tell you that Jesus Christ is not a man. Superficial minds
see a resemblance between Christ and the founders of empires, and the gods of other religions. That resemblance does not exist. There is between Christianity and whatever other religion the distance of infinity."
So, here is a question, "What was it about Jesus of Nazareth, called the Christ, that is so compelling and attractive. It wasnít His looks. The prophet Isaiah tells us that He was an ordinary looking guy (Isaiah 53:2). The New Testament gives us a few clues and these clues are compelling reasons why we should consider being a follower of Jesus the
First, what He said was extraordinary (John 7:46; Matthew 7:29). Jesus had the ability to explain and make plain the Word of God.
Second, what He did was extraordinary. He calmed storms, healed the sick, opened blind eyes, cast out demons, raised the dead, and gave forgiveness to adulteresses, tax-collectors, and prostitutes. These actions proved that he was the promised Messiah (Isaiah 35).
But perhaps, it was His leadership style that has attracted and changed the lives of so many. There was no uniform with a rank displayed, no leadership crown, no ring to be kissed, no white horse to ride. No identifying robe or collar.
Jesus led His followers by loving and serving them with humility and grace. Consider the only place in the Bible where Jesus describes His own character. In Matthew 11:28-30, He invites the tired to come to Him because He is humble and gentle in heart.
At least four times His disciples argued over who should have the greatest positions in the kingdom of God (Mark 9:33-37; 10:35-45; Matt. 20:20-28; Luke 22:24-27). Once Jesus took a child and said that no one would be great unless they repented and became as a child. Other times, He simply reminded them that to be great with God, one had to be a
servant to all. He said that His mission was not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.
But the fourth time, (Cp. Luke 22, with John 13), Jesus took a towel and a basin of water and proceeded to wash the discipleís feet. It was during what we call the last supper and contrary to Da Vinciís painting, they did not sit on chairs but reclined around a table. It was customary for a servant or for someone to wash the feet of the guests before
reclining around a table. Apparently, no one did. So, Jesus, proceeded to wash the feet of 12 men. Feet that would all run away from Him in His greatest need. Feet that would betray Him, Feet that would deny Him. Feet of men who did not deserve such service, but feet that needed to be washed. It was an act of great humility. And then he said this: "Do you know what I have
done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one anotherís feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who
sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. (John 13:12-17)
Over 70 times in the New Testament, Jesus said, "Follow me," meaning to come walk this road with me, beside me, as my disciple, and my friend. Learn from me is what it means. Become like me, do what I do, think what I think, say what I would say. This is what Jesus is saying to you and me today. "Follow me."
Unlike Islam that believes in conquering the world with violence, Jesus taught to us to win the world with acts of grace.
Today, the world owes much of its educational efforts, hospitals, charities, arts, and humanitarian efforts to men and women who have made the decision to follow the leadership of Jesus of Nazareth. Men and women who without trying to draw attention to themselves or to achieve greatness, saw the needs of humanity and have said, "Someone needs to do
something. Someone needs to share grace." The world is a better place and man has a hope beyond this life because of this One Solitary Life, who became the greatest leader of mankind ever, by humbly loving and serving people like us.
If this article has spoken to your heart, would you write to me at email@example.com and let me know or if you have any questions about following Jesus, I would be glad to try to answer them for you. May God bless you as you seek to do His will.
Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman