Column - Who is this man who changed the world?
He never held public office or commanded an army, yet countless rulers, kings and despots have feared His influence ever since His life and death. He never wrote a book or discovered new lands, yet His name is revered through centuries of history. He was not born into an elite or royal family and did not amass a great fortune. Yet, He is regarded by many as the richest of all. He never led a militant uprising and was not considered someone likely to change the world during His earthly lifetime. Yet, His mark on history is greater than anyone before or since. The book about Him and His teachings has sold more copies than any other manuscript ever created.
We are reminded of Him whenever we look at a map and see cities like St. Paul, Corpus Christi, San Pedro, San Salvador, and many others. We name our children after His friends with names like Peter, John, Phoebe, Mary, Matthew, Andrew, and many others. We name our dogs after the rulers of his day with names like Nero and Caesar.
His teachings have been used through the ages by people such as Martin Luther, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, St. Francis of Assisi, Mother Teresa, and many more. Many of those teachings led to some of the greatest advances in human culture by the founding of hospitals and universities in His name. Many of those great universities of today, such as Harvard and St. Johns, were founded as institutions dedicated to teaching His principles.
He elevated the status of women during His time on earth by having some of them as His closest friends and putting great trust in their wisdom and dedication. As a result, and I must say much too slowly, women would gain their proper place and importance in the world. It was not His teachings or intentions that mankind would take so long to bestow the honor and respect for women as He had.
Unfortunately, there have also been many grave and heinous crimes and acts against humanity by people who claim to be following His lead, e.g., the Crusades or the Inquisition, which were not in the true intent of His example or commands. As a result of what humans have done because of their own misguidance and evil intent, His name has come to be hated by some and defiled by others.
His message was very simple, but oh so hard to follow: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself." Such a simple statement, but it covers everything about how we should live. If you love the Lord your God and your neighbor, there would be no murder, no stealing, no adultery, no lying, no swearing, no break up of families, and no coveting of things you may not have.
He came and showed mercy to the down trodden and sickly. He favored the poor and not the rich. He went against the rulers and the elite of the day. He knew His fate and accepted it. His death was brutal and merciless by the Romans of the day who used crucifixion as their execution method. He came to save and not punish. His name is Jesus of Nazareth. By our own simplistic human understanding, it was such a strange way to save the world. I'm just sayin.
"As the centuries pass, the evidence is accumulating that, measured by His effect on history, Jesus is the most influential life ever lived on this planet."
-- Historian Kenneth Scott Latourette
DuWayne Paul of Alexandria is a regular contributing columnist for the Echo Press.