When I was a boy, one of my favorite things about Easter (besides time off from school) was something not even my best friend would have been able to guess. Back then I wasn’t particularly religious, but one of the main highlights of my Easter vacation (60s term for spring break) was the opportunity to watch some of my favorite movies aired on TV in the days before Hollywood became completely Christophobic. At the top of the list was Ben-Hur.
I loved those movies and would be impacted by them for weeks afterward. Jesus so powerfully impressed me—His love and compassion, His strength and dignity. Ultimately, however, His suffering affected me the most. I’ll never forget the vain attempts to hold back the tears while watching the crucifixion scenes. Although I didn’t know then what I know now about Jesus, He seemed to me to be the greatest Man who ever lived. Little did I know how true that notion was.
When we think of Jesus Christ, we must think of Him as unique in the truest sense of the word. The Oxford Dictionary defines unique as having no like, equal, or parallel: one of a kind. In the long history of the human race, Jesus Christ alone authentically fulfills that description.
The historian Philip Schaff wrote:
This Jesus of Nazareth, without money and arms, conquered more millions than Alexander, Caesar, Muhammad, and Napoleon; without science and learning, he shed more light on matters human and divine than all philosophers and scholars combined; without the eloquence of schools, he spoke such words of life as were never spoken before or since and produced effects which lie beyond the reach of orator or poet; without writing a single line, he set more pens in motion and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, learned volumes, works of art and songs of praise than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times. (Little, Paul E. Know Why You Believe. Downers Grove, IL: IVP, Fourth Edition, 2000. p. 45.)
How right he is! During the weeks ahead, we will look at the reasons for the extraordinary impact of Jesus Christ on human history and discover that from His birth, life, miracles, words, death, and resurrection, Jesus Christ alone truly has no like or equal.