Who is Jesus? Part 1

By Pastor Joe Grimaldi

The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.
— Matthew 16:1-4

If He was just a Jewish carpenter who hailed from an insignificant little town who lived 2,000 years ago why all the fascination?  He was and remains the most influential person in all of history. Why?

We can see His impact:

A. In the Minds of People

2006 Larry King on “Larry King Live” during a break said to Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins (the writers of the “Left Behind” series) said “I am not a believer but I have the utmost respect for Jesus Christ, I believe He was the most influential person who ever lived.  Of the estimated more than 13 billion people who have walked the earth why does Jesus draw so much attention? He has inspired more literature, music, and art than any person in history. Millions of churches and buildings have been built in His honor. Our calendar has been set according to His birth. The two biggest holidays celebrated worldwide are Christmas (celebrating His birth) and Easter (celebrating His resurrection).

Jesus is more relevant today than when He walked the shores of Galilee and is known by more people now than ever.

The big three of ancient Greek philosophy: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle (who together are said to have formed the philosophical foundation of Western culture) whose combined careers totaled more than 150 years did not impact the world as much as Jesus did in 3 1/2 years.

B. In the Media

Writers – An unbelieving detractor H.G. Wells famous for his science fiction works including (“The War of the Worlds; The Time Machine; and The Invisible Man”) was also a writer of non-fiction. In his book “The outline of history” a 12 hundred page volume tracing the history of the world from its origin to World War I; this socialist and supporter of Darwin’s theory of evolution devotes 41 pages to Jesus. A far larger amount than he devotes to any other historical figure. His personal hero Plato received 2 pages.

The encyclopedia Britannica 21,000 words about Jesus, the largest of its biographical sketches. Bill Clinton 2,511 words.  

Mark Twain may be most noted for his book “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn".  In 1869 wrote a book “The Innocents Abroad” accounting his travels in the Holy land which was his bestselling book during his life time.

“In the starlight, Galilee has no boundaries but the broad compass of the heavens, and is a theater meet for great events; meet for the birth of a religion able to save the world; and meet for the stately figure appointed to stand upon its stage and proclaim His high decrees.”

America’s 3 leading news magazines, Time, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report have placed Jesus on their covers more than 24 times in the last 10 years.  In the last 70 years Time magazine has featured Jesus on its cover 21 times, that is more(almost twice as much) as any other historical figure.

In 2006 the anti-Christian film “The Da Vinci Code” grossed more than $200 million domestically. More than 1 billion in foreign box office and DVD sales.

The 2004 “The Passion of the Christ” grossed more than $370 million and also more than 1 billion in foreign box office and DVD sales.  Hollywood is still fascinated with a Jewish carpenter from a little insignificant town who lives more than 2000 years ago.

C. In the Martyrs Refusing to Deny Him

Starting with Stephen untold millions of believers in Jesus have been burned, stretched, flayed, sawed in half, pierced, hung, boiled, drowned and ever other king of horrific torture and death imaginable; refusing to recant their faith.  And governments and groups have been so threatened by their faith in Jesus that they have concentrated time energy and money in the attempt to silence His followers; to no avail.