The Horse Sense Blog compares the nonsense in today's news with good ol' fashioned horse sense

“…I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve.… It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.” - Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775

"The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it." - George Orwell

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Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Impact of Jesus

Here's the Nonsense:  Christmas really isn't that important.  Only those who believe in Jesus should care about it.

Here's the Horse Sense:  Christ's birth and life has impacted the world more than anything else in history.  To think otherwise is to ignore the last 2000 years of history.

It's Christmas morning and I hadn't planned on writing a blog post this week.  But somehow this morning as I was thinking about Christmas and what it truly means, I had to share my thoughts.

Christmas has become mostly a celebration of traditions that have nothing to do with the real meaning of the holiday.  People, even those who profess to be Christians, are caught up in family gatherings, holiday meals, decorations, and all sorts of things that, while nice, really too often become the focus of this time of year.  And when that happens, we are putting other things before what is truly important.  

But as I thought about Christmas this morning I found myself with way too many thoughts to share.  Then I remembered many things I'd read over the years that other people have said about the impact, the importance of Jesus Christ's life in world history.  So, I spent some time looking up some of those quotes and want to share them for you to reflect upon during this Christmas season:

Jesus Christ’s Impact on History

H.G. Wells said:
“In the reign of Tiberius Caesar a great teacher arose out of Judea who was to liberate the intense realization of the righteousness and unchallengeable oneness of God, and of man’s moral obligation to God…This was Jesus of Nazareth…Is it any wonder that to this day the Galilean is too much for our small hearts.”
When asked which person left the most permanent impression on history, Wells replied that judging a person’s greatness by historical standards:
“By this test, Jesus stands first.
“I am a historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history.
“Christ is the most unique person of history. No man can write a history of the human race without giving first and foremost place to the penniless teacher of Nazareth.”
Napoleon Bonaparte said:
"You speak of Caesar, of Alexander, of their conquests and of the enthusiasm which they enkindled in the hearts of their soldiers; but can you conceive of a dead man making conquests, with an army faithful and entirely devoted to his memory? My armies have forgotten me even while living, as the Carthaginian army forgot Hannibal. Such is our power.
“I know men and I tell you, Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded his empire upon love; and at this hour, millions would die for him.
“I search in vain history to find similar to Jesus Christ, or anything which can approach the gospel.  Neither history nor humanity, nor ages, nor nature, offer me anything with which I am able to compare it or to explain it. Here everything is extraordinary.”
Ernest Renan (French historian) said:
“All history is incomprehensible without Christ. 
“Whatever may be the surprises of the future, Jesus will never be surpassed.”

Kennesth Scott Latourette (former President of American Historic Society) wrote In A History of Christianity:
“It is evidence of His importance, of the effect that He has had upon history and presumably, of the baffling mystery of His being that no other life ever lived on this planet has evoked so huge a volume of literature among so many people and languages, and that, far from ebbing, the flood continues to mount.
“As the centuries pass by, the evidence is accumulating that measured by its effect on history, Jesus is the most influential life ever lived on this planet. The influence appears to be mounting.
“No other life lived on this planet has so widely and deeply affected mankind.”

George Bancroft (American historian) said:
“I find the name of Jesus Christ written on the top of every page of modern history.”

Will Durant (historian and philosopher), when asked what he felt the apex of history was:
“The three years that Jesus of Nazareth walked the earth.”

As impressive as all those quotes (and many others) are about the impact of Jesus' life, what I've found that may be the most well-written, profound description of the impact of the life of Jesus might be this piece called One Solitary LIfe by Dr. James Allan Francis:

One Solitary Life

Here is a man who was born in an obscure village as the child of a peasant woman.
He grew up in another obscure village.
He worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty and then for three years was an itinerant preacher.
He never wrote a book.
He never held an office.
He never owned a home.
He never had a family.
He never went to college.
He never put his foot inside a big city.
He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where he was born.
He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness.
He had no credentials but himself.
He had nothing to do with this world except the naked power of his divine manhood.
While still a young man the tide of popular opinion turned against him.
His friends ran away.
One of them denied him.
Another betrayed him.
He was turned over to his enemies.
He went through the mockery of a trial.
He was nailed upon the cross between two thieves.
His executioners gambled for the only piece of property he had on earth while he was dying, and that was his coat.
When he was dead, he was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone and today he is the center of the human race and the leader of the column of progress.
I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that were ever built, and all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon the earth as powerfully as has this one solitary life.

Think what you will, but the fact remains that no life has ever impacted the world like that of Jesus.  No person or other religion has inspired hymns like the great hymns heard in Christian cathedrals.  No other religion has inspired the creation of schools and hospitals that Christianity has.  No other belief system has caused so many people to give their lives in service, even in death, to help others than the belief system of people who've come to know Jesus in a personal relationship.

This is a very special season because it marks the point in history when God became incarnate and chose to dwell among us to reach out to us and save from eternal damnation any of us who choose to accept His gift.  

That is the reason for the season.