Jesus was certainly “No Ordinary Man” as this chapter in The Story reveals. When you look at the list of accomplishments Jesus set in motion with his teachings, it’s incredible. He – and his disciples – sparked a revolution that continues to this day!
Pastor and author John Ortberg has written a sweet little book titled Who Is This Man? The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus, which ties in beautifully with Pastor Sean’s message this past Sunday. Ortberg claims, and rightly so, that “we live in a world where Jesus’ impact is immense even if his name goes unmentioned.”
Here are just a few of the outcomes of Jesus’ life that Ortberg mentions in his book for us to think about:
- While alive, Jesus had no place to live. Today, you cannot look at a map without being reminded of Jesus. (Think about Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles – and that’s just California!)
- Every time we glance at a calendar we’re reminded that Jesus’ life became the dividing line of history.
- No one knows what Jesus looked like, but he and his followers became the most frequent subjects for art in the world. (Not only art but literature, music, drama and more!)
- Jesus never wrote a book, yet his followers were so devoted to teaching and learning that eventually they would build great libraries and universities. (Think Oxford, Cambridge, Yale and Harvard, just to name a few!)
- The practice of burial in graveyards arose from Jesus’ followers wanting to express the hope of resurrection. The word “cemetery” is from a Greek word meaning “sleeping place.” A tombstone marked with date of birth and death illustrates the length of human life measured by its distance from Jesus’ lifetime. If a family can’t afford a tombstone, often a cross will mark the site, a reminder of Jesus’ death.
- In the ancient, status-ordered world, children, slaves, peasants and women were at the bottom of the ladder. Jesus gave new value to each, challenging us to see that every human being is made in God’s image.
The list goes on, including as Pastor Sean mentioned, Jesus’ teaching being the basis for much of our law codes. Regarding the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7), Ortberg quotes Harvard professor Harvey Cox as saying, “the words (of the Sermon on the Mount) are the most luminous, most quoted, most analyzed, most contested, most influential moral and religious discourse in all of human history.” Wow! Those teachings – and many more – came from the One I follow. I don’t know about you, but I must be pretty smart to follow a guy like that!