People have asked me what the most important thing about Christianity and its influence on the world are. Some of these I have written about before. Now, I am tasked to give my opinion on five historical events that have influenced the church today. I stand with the following but could also give many different answers for the last one.
A bit lengthy but these aspects are too important to shortchange
Jesus’ Death on the cross.
His life and influence have been felt all over the world throughout history (His Story). We have the Four Gospel Writers giving us the horrific events that took place before and during Jesus’ hanging on the cross.
Non-Christian historians who wrote about the historical figure of Jesus. One was a Jewish historian named Flavius Josephus and the other was a Roman historian named Tacitus (Copy of Letter above). Both wrote about Jesus and the repercussions of His actions, along with his disciples.
Pliny the Younger was the governor of Bithynia et Pontus around 11 A.D. He wrote about Christians following a Jewish Teacher named Jesus whom they called a God. Moreover, Pliny was fearful that this faith would spread like it already was throughout the Roman Empire. Although he did not personally write about Jesus, he did write about the influence of a person named Jesus over His disciples and was not happy with the way Christians were worshipping and taking people’s faith away from the gods of Rome.
All accounts both in the Gospels and by outside non-Christian writers validate that Jesus was a person who came to influence the Judean nation, the Roman Empire, and later, the whole known world.
Without Jesus’ death, there would not be a story of Redemption. The Redemption of grace and mercy given to humanity, to be able to reconcile ourselves back to complete communion with God. Jesus became the Last Sacrificial Lamb to take away the sins of the world. With His death, the final sacrifice on the Temple Mount laid a foundation for all who would come asking for God’s forgiveness.
While Jesus’ incredible work of the cross is without compare, the Resurrection of Jesus is as important as His Sacrifice on the cross. Without Jesus resurrecting as He and the prophetic scriptures said would happen, Christians would not be here, able to say that we through Jesus have conquered Death’s sting.
If the cross brought a sweet-smelling aroma to God’s Throne room, the resurrection sealed or stamped the Sacrificial Lamb with the Heavenly Stamp of approval. You see, Jesus had to conquer Death, yet the His disciples, the hordes of hell and his earthly enemies did not understand that.
His disciples were dejected and felt rejected. They had seen The Messiah of Israel do astonishing miracles. Yet, their Rabbi and future’s Hope had dashed and crashed away with Jesus’ Death on the cross. These men, laid hidden, fearful of the Jewish authorities. Not able to understand why their beloved Teacher was now dead.
Most of the Sanhedrin, who opposed this simple, poor, interloper called Yeshua, thought they had gotten rid of this nuisance who called Himself the resurrection and the Life., The Way, Truth and Life, The Good Shepherd, The Bread of Life, etc.. These devout legalistic men who wanted power thought they had stayed in power.
Satan and his hordes who saw Jesus born and made every effort to get rid of this baby God as soon as possible. These evil forces which influenced the soldiers of Herod’s Guard to kill the innocents in Bethlehem and its surroundings. The same evil horde with their leader taunting Jesus as he was being beaten and whipped. What must have gone through satan’s mind seeing Jesus tortured, hanging on the cross, dying a gruesome death, His body buried in a cave? This evil demonic swarm must have celebrated seeing the shocking event of God dying by the hand of His most precious creation. Satan had won, or so he thought.
“How I wish I would have been there,” is every Christian’s thought. The event of the resurrection changed life itself. We are now the heirs of this resurrection and the hope it gives us. The hope of one day resurrecting into eternity, and finally becoming whole once again. This event is the blessed hope Paul speaks of in Titus. The hope of everlasting union with our LORD and Savior Jesus, when He comes for us.
Fifty days after Jesus became our First Fruit of Resurrection, the third most important event happened to the Church of Christ. Without it, the church would have died a wimpy and minute death. You see, what the Death and resurrection were for us, the filling of the Holy Spirit was just as important. This filling is where we as Christians get our power, not through anything we do, but through the Power of God’s Spirit.
Jesus needed to go through this sacrificial Death and why we as Christians celebrate it today as the most important of events in world history. The eye witness accounts of his Death and burial cannot be rebutted by any critic because there were too many witnesses to Christ’s ministry, crucifixion, Death, and resurrection.
We also have the enemies of Jesus who by their silence after the miraculous events, did not deny a resurrection or that Jesus performed great miracles. They tried to bribe Jesus away and force His disciples to not preach in His name.
With a widespread movement, there tends to be a downhill period of moral decline and corruption. This corruption happened to the Christian church when it became universal, and its leadership became too powerful.
With absolute power, comes absolute corruption. No checks and balances for its leaders.
There were too many followers and too few who could read the Word of God. Illiteracy was the vehicle for leadership to take grasp for power. God led Luther to pen Ninety-five Theses where Protestants, later on, would protest with The Five Solae or Alone’s or Only’s.
The Reformation revolutionized faith in Christ alone and not the church, the word alone and not with traditions of men, faith, and grace alone without bribing your way to heaven, and God alone instead of a man absolving your sins away.
I remember seeing a chart that looked like a hockey stick. It was a timeline showing the technological progress of humankind. We see the agricultural age for most of human history and then the great boom of the industrial age. We then accelerate the knowledge pace when we hit the digital age, and double the knowledge with the information age! The internet can be used for evil, but I am an optimist. The Gospel has been preached throughout the world.
Just this blog alone has made it to 87 countries and counting. From Brazil to China and in every continent except Antartica. Imagine Paul having the internet? What would Christianity look like if he had his hands on such an incredible piece of technology?
This is the Golden Age for sharing the Gospel. This is our time to impact history. We have learned from Scripture and those that have come before us.
Let us make the world know who Christ is and what He has done for them! Go and make disciples of all nations…
If you want to know who Jesus is and what He did for you:
Full Transcripts of Tacitus letter about Christ