This sermon is part of the sermon series "What Do Christians Think About God?". See series.
From the standpoint of world history, Jesus Christ looms as the most incredible and significant person who's ever lived. Yale historian Jaraslav Pelikan said in his book, Jesus Through the Centuries: "Jesus of Nazareth has been the most dominant figure in the history of western culture for almost 20 centuries. If it were possible, with some sort of super magnet, to pull out of that history every scrap of metal bearing at least a trace of his name, how much would be left?"
So far as we know, Jesus never wrote anything, yet some of the greatest works of literature were inspired by his life; he never painted a picture, yet some of the finest paintings from Michelangelo and de Vinci were inspired by him; he composed no music, yet Handel, Beethoven, and Bach reached their highest perfection in songs they wrote in praise of Jesus. Although Jesus taught for only three years, his influence looms larger than the combined influence of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, who taught for a combined 140 years. So significant is the figure of Jesus Christ that the entire western world divides history into BC and AD. BC simply means before Christ's birth. AD stands for the Latin phrase anno domini, which means "the year of our Lord." We date everyone and everything with reference to this one man.
Oxford theologian Alister McGrath points out that one of the ironies of history is that even the lives of those who were utterly opposed to Jesus and all he stood for are dated with reference to Jesus, thus we know that the Roman Emperor Nero died in AD 68 and the dictator Joseph Stalin died in AD 1953. It's difficult to overstate the impact Jesus Christ has had on this earth. He's been the inspiration ...
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