Encountering the Real Jesus, Part 1: Who is this Man?

Keith Chandler, Journey Christian Church

I want to start a new series of articles this month—“Encountering the REAL Jesus”—by talking about him and his impact on the world. Let’s suppose you wanted to change the world so much that all of history would be divided into what happened before you lived, and into what happened after you lived. What would you do? It’s been done ONE time.

The impact of his life is so deep that every year his birth remains the most celebrated birth in the world.

The instrument on which he was killed, a cross, marks more graves and adorns more jewelry than any other symbol in human history. If you look at the world in which he was born, the ancient world was a darker and crueler place than a lot of us know.

Then there was the world that Jesus saw. The beauty of his imagination has affected people like nobody else. Most people have no idea of the impact Jesus has had on our world. So, very briefly, let’s reflect together on it.

Jesus gave the world it’s most influential movement—the Church.

Where before the church was there a movement that actively sought to include every person, regardless of ethnicity, status, or gender, to be loved and transformed? It did not exist.

Jesus changed how we think about history.

In the 6th century, a monk proposed a new calendar centered on the birth of the carpenter, Jesus. The creation of the Christian calendar wasn’t just a chronological convenience. It was a claim, an idea, that existence is NOT a random cycle, but it has a meaning. 2000 years after his birth, anytime anyone on the planet looks at a calendar we are reminded daily that Jesus Christ (and no other) has become the hinge of history.

Jesus shaped how we express compassion.

In the ancient world, a child could be left to die if it was the wrong gender. Anybody want to guess what the wrong gender was? Girls. But these followers of Jesus remembered that Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me.” They began to take in abandoned children. And then they began orphanages.

The Jesus movement shaped education.

92% of all colleges and universities started in the United States before the Civil War were founded in His name. The Jesus movement revolutionized art, changed political theory, and changed how we think of human rights and dignity. Jesus uniquely taught love of enemies. In the ancient world you helped your friends and harmed your enemies. Regardless about what you think about Jesus, this is profound.

Until next month,
Keith

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