Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, NC, a widely traveled evangelist, and the author of several books. His books are available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com
I don’t really know George all that well; but my impression of him is that he is as common as his name. He runs a little mechanic shop in a tiny town in South Carolina that few people have ever heard of. George is a plain looking fellow, he will never in his lifetime grace the cover of a magazine unless there is, somewhere out there, a “Lifestyles Of The Utterly Ordinary” magazine.
George has never been married, and now that he is dying, he never will. Thus, he will never have any kids to carry on the family name. As for my knowledge of him, I came to know George through his preaching. You see, a few years ago, this common laborer started a little church. When I say little, I really do mean little. Like most pastors George has seen his church have bigger days and smaller days, mostly smaller, but he has less than a dozen members right now. And currently it appears that this unmarried mechanic/preacher who has never written a single book and has just a handful of loving church members will be dead probably before this column even goes to press.
But George will not be forgotten. Ever. In fact, within just a few years people will be writing best selling books about his life, and two thousand years from now, when the world has changed and become “more modern and enlightened than ever,” he will still be, by far, the most famous man who has ever lived. In fact, all across the world among every nation and ethnicity, people who agree on little else will agree on him, and will actually be meeting week after week to worship him.
And by now you surely know that I am not talking about a mechanic, but about a carpenter. A man whose name, in his day, was as common as the name George in our day, yet has somehow had that name become the name above all names. There was nothing in the circumstances surrounding the life of Jesus that would ever have led anyone to suspect that, on a Sunday morning in April of AD 2020, billions of people around the world would have their minds all on Him, all at once.
Yes, he did miracles. But so did a great many other people in Bible days. His miracles do not, cannot explain why a carpenter from Nazareth became the most famous person in human history. He never wrote a book, never had an army, never even swung a sword that we know of. He was born into poverty, despised by people of influence, and died the humiliating death of a common criminal, surrounded by other criminals with whom he was lumped in. He had no wife, no children to carry on the family name, and just eleven close friends, his “church,” all of whom were there when he was taken away to die.
For him, under those circumstances, to become the most famous person in human history was not just improbable; it was hopelessly, hilariously, absurdly impossible.
And yet it happened. Here we are, 2000 years later, praising him as the Son of God and God the Son, this man who, in his day, was among the “important people,” regarded as a nobody from nowhere.
The resurrection made the impossible possible.
The fact that Jesus came out of the grave on the third day changed everything.
Many years ago, a former Watergate conspirator, Charles “Chuck” Colson made this statement. “I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because twelve men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for forty years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned, and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren’t true. Watergate embroiled twelve of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks. You’re telling me twelve apostles could keep a lie for forty years? Absolutely impossible.”
He was right. But may I add to his words, twelve men who had literally nothing to gain and everything to lose by saying what they said, continued to say what they said. They left the respectability and security of a long established religion, and threw it all away to go everywhere and write to everyone saying that Jesus had risen from the dead. They were persecuted, reviled, tortured, and killed for one reason: preaching that Jesus did not stay dead. This was not a popular, “Have A Great Life Now” kind of message. Acts 4:1-2 says, “And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.”
His most rabid adversary, Saul of Tarsus, later had an encounter with him on the Damascus road and found that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead. He joined the ranks of the believers and invested the remaining years of his life going everywhere and telling everyone what had happened.
The impossible became possible for exactly one reason: Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
Praise his name!
Pastor Wagner can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Feature photo by Benita Rowland)