In 1926 an obscure Los Angels preacher, Dr. James Allan Francis, wrote a short sermon of just 245 words. Words about a solitary life from an obscure village. A solitary life that would impact the human race for over two centuries. As Dr. Francis wrote, I wonder if he realized the impact his words would still have 85 years later.
It’s Christmas. A time Christians the world over will celebrate the birth of a solitary man from an obscure village. A man who has had a most profound effect on the human race. A man we know as Jesus of Nazareth. I wonder if either of these men realized how much they would affect future generations.
Let us turn now to the story. A child is born in an obscure village. He is brought up in another obscure village. He works in a carpenter shop until he is thirty, and then for three brief years is an itinerant preacher, proclaiming a message and living a life. He never writes a book. He never holds an office. He never raises an army. He never has a family of his own. He never owns a home. He never goes to college. He never travels two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He gathers a little group of friends about him and teaches them his way of life. While still a young man, the tide of popular feeling turns against him. One denies him; another betrays him. He is turned over to his enemies. He goes through the mockery of a trial; he is nailed to a cross between two thieves, and when dead is laid in a borrowed grave by the kindness of a friend.
Those are the facts of his human life. He rises from the dead. Today we look back across nineteen hundred years and ask, What kind of trail has he left across the centuries? When we try to sum up his influence, all the armies that ever marched, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned are absolutely picayune in their influence on mankind compared with that of this one solitary life…
“The Real Jesus and Other Sermons” © 1926 by the Judson Press of Philadelphia (pp 123-124 titled “Arise Sir Knight!”).
Whether or not you believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, his influence on the human race is unquestionable. It is His birth we celebrate today.
Peace on Earth, Good will to all.
Happy Birthday Jesus.