Summary: What Jesus said changed world history. Twelve disciples who answered the call, "Follow Me" changed the course of human history.
Imagine or picture with me for a moment a scene in a park, it could be any picnic ground in Perth. It’s a sunny day and there is a family having a great time together, it is an extended family.
There is two or three kids trying to catch padpoles, maybe skylarking on the monkey bars. Soon they will be running to and sitting down on the rug. Mum has prepared a great meal to enjoy. Fried chicken, salad, cold drinks and some cake for afterwards.
Dad is kicking the footy with his son, with half an ear to the radio, listening into the score.
Grandma is sitting comfortably on the chair, shes past running around but is really enjoying watching her youngest grandchild playing in her pram.
Everyone of those people, from their different generations have a vastly different opinion on time.
Every wonder why the years seem to go quicker each year, Christmas seems to come around quicker, easter is upon us again. One theory is that as we get older our minds become more and more filled with memories. The memory we have available to us is finite, and as we experience different things and learn and remember, our memories fill up and time is put into perspective.
The children running around in the sun, chasing each other, for them that day seems to last forever.
Dad and mum are busy, making sure the kids don’t fall in the water, getting the food ready, worrying about work tomorrow and bills that have to be paid.
Grandma is wiser. She is enjoying the moment. She knows it will soon be gone. She knows that the moment is to be enjoyed. The richness the joy that a new day and new life brings is to be savoured. Enjoyed. Experience has taught her that another day may bring new troubles, but right now, this moment, should be enjoyed.
We are starting this morning with our series on what Jesus said that changed the world. I want us to look at what effect Jesus’ words had not just on a small group of people in history, but in fact what Jesus said that changed the natural course of history itself.
Napolean Bonarparte said this,
"You speak of Caesar, of Alexander, of their conquests and of the enthusiasm which they enkindled in the hearts of their soldiers; but can you conceive of a dead man making conquests, with an army faithful and entirely devoted to his memory? My armies have forgotten me even while living, as the Carthaginian army forgot Hannibal. Such is our power.”
“I know men and I tell you, Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded his empire upon love; and at this hour, millions would die for him.”
“I search in vain history to find similar to Jesus Christ, or anything which can approach the gospel. Neither history nor humanity, nor ages, nor nature, offer me anything with which I am able to compare it or to explain it. Here everything is extraordinary.”
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:
“By this test, 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 center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history.”
“Christ is the most unique 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.”
I want to take you back to that scene in the park, and the thoughts of all those people. I wonder if you relate to any of them. Now most of the kids have gone out, but maybe you’re a mum or a dad, and life is busy. You have bills to pay, things to do, maybe you’re a grandma or grandfather, and you have a wider view, a longer view, and you can see more of the big picture, and you realise you don’t have to rush about as much as you used to.
How does what Jesus said 2000 years ago affect your life? How does it affect how you view time, priorities, resources, the whole life picture. Stop for a moment and lets reflect on life. What does it all mean? Think about our own mortality, what does it all mean?
At the start of his ministry on earth the time he started to minister to people, Jesus said something which changed the world, and that is not overstating it, he said something which changed the world forever. He said to a group of fisherman, to a varied group of people, follow me.