Issue 42

December 1, 2007

One Solitary Life

‘And the government shall be upon His shoulder...’

Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher. He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never travelled more than two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself... While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. While He was dying His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth—His coat. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend. Nineteen centuries have come and gone, and today He is the centrepiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress. I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever 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.

The above was adapted from a sermon by Dr James Allan Francis in “The Real Jesus and Other Sermons” © 1926 by the Judson Press of Philadelphia (pp123-124 titled “Arise Sir Knight!”). What is thought to be the original can be read on Graham Pockett’s website at http://cetf.co/JJ1C9P

Herbert George Wells (1866–1946), better known as H.G. Wells, was an English writer, who is sometimes referred to as “The Father of Science Fiction” based on his novels The Time Machine, The Invisible Man and The First Men in the Moon etc also wrote The Outline of History (1920). I recall from my early preaching days, quoting H.G. Wells to the effect:

Jesus of Nazareth is easily the dominant figure in history. I speak of him as a man for I consider the historian must treat him as a man, just as the painter must paint him as a man … His historicity is not seriously questioned by anyone … Of course you and I live in countries where Jesus is considered to be more than a man, but the historian must disregard that fact. He must present facts that will pass unchallenged any where in the world.

The following appears on the internet at http://www.why-jesus.com/history.htm—H.G. Wells, British writer, 1866-1946: When asked which person left the most permanent impression on history, he replied that judging a person’s greatness by historical standards:

Jesus stands first. I am a historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very centre of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history. Christ is the most unique4 person of history. No man can write a history of the human race without giving first and foremost place to the penniless teacher of Nazareth.

As we approach “Christmas” let’s try to turn from the conjectural and controversial aspects of the pagan and false religious origins of the festival, allowing for difference of opinion and avoid binding on others our practice or non-practice of the celebration or festivities in the spirit of Romans 14:5 cf. Romans 14:22—

One man esteems one day above another: another esteems every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. Do you have faith? Have it as your own conviction before God. Happy (blessed) is he that does not condemn himself in that thing which he approves.

Christ was born—LET US REJOICE and share the message of His birth, life, death, resurrection and soon return.

We commend this CETF to you praying that the articles, testimonies, letters, news and views will prove a blessing and challenge.

Happy reading.

Philip

CETF Magazine

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