Today we celebrate the birthday of Jesus of Nazareth, widely considered the greatest man who ever lived. His teachings are arguably the most profound, insightful and challenging the world has ever seen. He has inspired countless universities, hospitals, and ministries to the sick, poor, and oppressed. He has inspired the world’s greatest literature, art, and music, not to mention the greatest theological treatises and much of the greatest philosophy in history. He has also inspired countless followers to make extreme sacrifices, many even literally giving up their lives, in his service. So great is his influence on human history, in fact, that this itinerant teacher became the reference point for the world’s dating system. That’s remarkable stuff for a man who never held a political office, never led an army, never authored any books or even a single essay, nor did he even travel more than a few hundred miles from his hometown.
So how did he manage to so profoundly impact human history? For Christians, of course, the answer is that Jesus wasn’t just the greatest man who ever lived. He was something far more than this.
“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” (Jude 1:24-25)