“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.” (Luke 1:31-32)

There’s been a lot of talk about the “Man of the Year” or the “Man of the Century.” Time Magazine always gets a lot of publicity for their choice. It’s kind of interesting to debate who has had the greatest influence over a period of time. But when you take a look at the whole of history, there’s now doubt who the most influential person has been. Hands down, it is Jesus of Nazareth. The prophecy Gabriel made to Mary, recorded in Luke 1, proved true: “He will be great.” There has never been a greater man than Jesus to ever walk this earth.

If the record of the Bible isn’t enough for you, read what Time Magazine wrote of Jesus in a recent issue: “The single most powerful figure – not merely in these two millenniums but in all human history – has been Jesus of Nazareth . . . a serious argument can be made that no one else’s life has proved remotely as powerful and enduring as that of Jesus.”

The fact of Jesus’ overwhelming influence and greatness is beyond dispute. A more interesting question is, “Why?” A paragraph written by Fred Bock titled “One Solitary Life” asks this question:

“Born in an obscure village, He was the child of a peasant woman. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty years old, and then for three years He travelled around the county, stopping long enough to talk and to listen to people, and help where He could. He never wrote a book, He never had a hit record, He never went to college, He never ran for public office, He never had a family or owned a house. He never did any of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself. But when He was only thirty-three years old, the tide of public opinion turned against Him, and His friends rejected Him. When He was arrested, very few wanted anything to do with Him. After the trial, He was executed by the State along with admitted thieves. Only because a generous friend offered his own cemetery plot was there any place to bury Him. This all happened nineteen centuries ago, and yet today He is the leading figure of the human race, and the ultimate example of love. Now it is no exaggeration to say that all the armies that have ever marched, all the navies that have ever set sail, all the rulers that have ever ruled, all the kings that have ever reigned on this earth, all put together have not affected the life of man on earth like One Solitary Life.”

Why has Jesus had more influence than any other man? Because though He was a man, He was more than a man. He was who He said He was: the unique Son of God, deity and humanity joined together in one Person. This is the only rational explanation for such an unlikely figure to have had such amazing influence. But has He affected your life, on this earth – and for eternity? Are you experiencing His greatness?