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Who, in your opinion, is the most outstanding personality of all time?
I have posed this question to people of many religions, even atheists and Communists, around the world. The answer from all knowledgeable people is always the same: “Jesus of Nazareth.”
I recall the response of a young radical attending the University of California, Berkeley. The campus was the fountainhead of the turbulent student revolution during the 1960s. For an entire week, 600 of our Campus Crusade staff and students personally shared the claims of Christ in small and large meetings with approximately 23,000 students. Thousands expressed their desire to receive and follow Jesus as their Savior and Lord.
Early in the week, I interviewed the acknowledged leader of the revolution. She had been born into a non-Christian religion and was a dedicated atheist and committed Communist, demanding the violent overthrow of our government.
I asked her, “Who is the greatest person who has ever lived? Who in all of history has done the most good for mankind?”
There was a long, awkward silence and finally a reluctant reply, “I guess I would have to say Jesus of Nazareth.”
People of every religion, if they know the facts, acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the unique personality of all time.
He is the One who has changed the whole course of history. History is His story.
Remove Jesus of Nazareth from history and it would be a completely different story.
Consider today’s date on your calendar. It gives witness to the fact that Jesus of Nazareth lived on the earth. B.C. means “Before Christ,” and A.D., “anno Domini,” is the Latin phrase translated “in the year of our Lord.”
No other person has influenced the world for good more than Jesus Christ. Wherever His true message has gone, great changes have taken place in the lives of men and nations.
One writer described Christ’s influence in this way:
Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone and today He is the center-piece 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 ever were built, and all of the parliaments that ever have sat, and all the kings that ever reigned put together have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life, Jesus of Nazareth.*
During His ministry, Jesus made many claims about Himself. He said, for example, that He was equal with God the Father, eternal, and the only way to heaven.
Almost everyone who knows anything about Jesus would admit that He had a profound influence on the world. But was He more than just a teacher and leader?
Let us examine the evidence surrounding His claims.
* James Allen Francis, “One Solitary Life.”
© 1971, 1998 Bill Bright, New Life Publications. All rights reserved. Adapted with permission from Bill Bright, “Jesus and the Intellectual” (Peachtree City, GA, NewLife Publications).
Bill Bright was the co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ International.
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