Nowadays we hear about the people who start trends in fashion, behaviour etc being referred to as an influencer. They usually have extensive social media sites and amass large numbers of followers who emulate their behaviour and style. Some of them become celebrities and are very popular until eventually they are usurped from their position by the ‘next big thing’. The famous footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo has over 440 million followers. He has carefully developed a trusted online presence and can influence others to make a decision or even buy a product. He can motivate and inspire us to follow him.
However, the greatest influencer in the world had none of these trappings. He was a carpenter from Nazareth and yet he changed history more than any other. Our calendar is based on his life. Our symbols of hope are based on his death but what does he offer us. 2023 years after his birth he has 2.4 billion followers making Christianity the largest religion in the world and making up one third of the total population of this planet. The number is still growing so why is Christianity and the word of Jesus so popular even today. His key messages don’t date and have a lasting influence and relevance. There are many reasons for this but 3 key messages are,
Jesus Makes Repentance Possible
One of the reasons Jesus is so important to those who sincerely try to follow Him is that all of us fall short and need the gift of repentance. He forgives everyone even those who tortured and killed him, ‘Father, forgive them because they know not what they do’. So, when we stumble and fall, Jesus always wants us to repent and start again and lead us to the path of obedience.
Jesus Offers Peace
If you are ever faced a natural disaster, been the subject of cruel gossip, experienced a life-changing challenge, had a falling-out with a friend, or stood up for what is right, you know you need the Lord’s peace. In our world at present there is so much conflict and we think of all those people who have fled from war and conflict. Sometimes we all need to turn to Jesus, ‘The Prince of Peace’.
Jesus Offers Hope
When we face serious challenges, sometimes we find it difficult to trust in the Lord. But trusting in Him brings us the hope we need in order to face our challenges. Daily in our church community we witness people suffering bereavement, grieving or depression. Our Cathedral always has someone calling in to light a candle and sit in silent prayer. We trust in God that there is a better place for us where there is no more pain or suffering.
Many influencers lose their popularity but not Jesus. His teachings are as relevant today as they were all those years ago. A life without him is one without hope, peace and forgiveness.