Last weekend while at Oglebay with more than 600 Young Life staff and volunteers from West Virginia and Pennsylvania, I had the privilege of listening to Ty Saltzgiver, the executive senior vice president of Young Life.
Saltzgiver started out talking about the Dos Equis beer commercials that feature "the world's most interesting man" but quickly shifted to emphatically show that no human to ever walk this earth was more interesting than Jesus Christ. I love what Napoleon Bonaparte, the 19th Century French emperor, had to say about Jesus: "I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creation of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded his empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for him."
In many respects, Napoleon got it. In Christendom, Jesus is not just a king, he is The King. Not only The King but the cornerstone, the epicenter and the Alpha and the Omega. Take Jesus out of Christianity and you are limited to religious rules and regulations. Keep Jesus in Christianity and you are found with limitless adventure, hope, peace, joy, freedom and love. Indeed Saltzgiver was correct - Jesus is the most interesting man ever in the world. Sadly, too many people miss out on life because they don't know the most interesting man ever in the world. Worse yet, they don't realize that this man loves them like no other.
I know many people who cognitively believe in Jesus yet don't necessarily follow him. Believing in Jesus is splendid, but it must be in sync with the heart that desires to come after him, deny themselves, take up their cross and follow (Matthew 16:24). When the cognitive belief is in sync with the heart's desire to follow, Christians will not only bear good fruit but also experience true life and a deep intimate relationship with the most interesting man ever in the world - Jesus.
Whether a cognitive believer or a passionate follower of Jesus, I am confident that all would not dispute the "most interesting man ever in the world" tag placed on Jesus. Thumbing through the Gospels is evidence enough. Jesus healed the sick and disabled; he turned water into wine; fed 5,000 people with just five loaves of bread and two fish; calmed a hurricane-like storm with mere words; walked on water; and even raised a man to life.
If this isn't enough, he created all things before he left his glory in heaven to walk where he created - to live a flawless life in order to die for the sins of those he created in the ultimate sacrifice and gift of redemption. Yet, he wasn't finished because three days later he rose again to put an exclamation point on his identity as both man and God while also securing victory over death for all who call on his name.
Further, 40 days later he ascended back to his glory in heaven with a promise of a final return to make all things new providing a hope for all followers of Christ despite current circumstances. This should cause us to be in awe of him who came to give us life. Yes, Jesus undoubtedly, unmistakingly and irrefutably is the most interesting man ever in the world. That's why I believe and follow him.
(The opinions of this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Inter-Mountain, the Randolph County Ministerial Association or the author's church affiliation.)