Taylor Swift, Donald Trump, and even Vladimir Putin command the headlines in 2024. Yet, I am convinced, their celebrity and status will wane. Few names survive the test of time. Yet the influence of Jesus of Nazareth is increasing globally after 2000 years. Arguably Jesus is the best-known name in the world. This Galilean teacher’s words have fashioned Western culture and morality, art and architecture for two millennia.

Tom Holland makes the case in his book Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World, that the 21st Century atheist, agnostic and believer, culture warrior and conservative all swim in deeply Christian waters. In an interview, he said:

“Compacted into this very, very small amount of writing was almost everything that explains the modern world and the way the West has then moved on to shape concepts like international law, concepts of human rights, all these kinds of things. Ultimately, they don’t go back to Greek philosophers, they don’t go back to Roman imperialism. They go back to Paul. His letters, I think, along with the four gospels, are the most influential, the most impactful, the most revolutionary writings that have emerged from the ancient world.”


Jesus is, without doubt, the singular most impactful influencer on Western culture in all history.

So, who is Jesus?

This has to be the most crucial question we can ask in this life. For it’s a question with consequences. We cannot come down on one conclusion without it demanding profound decisions about God and our lives in the world. Jesus makes such massive claims that make it impossible to relegate him to the fringes of life. If he is the world’s true king, God in human form, come to rescue and renew his creation then this is not a peripheral matter, but the most wonderful and vital fact of life to get our heads around.

This Sunday we begin a 3-week series of “Questions of Life”, looking at the core of the Christian faith. These will be good services to invite Jesus-curious friends to. This week we are asking “Who is Jesus?”. It’s a great question and one which Jesus, himself, puts to his followers: “Who do you say I am?”. (Matthew 16:13)

Of course, our answer is not only a historical fact-check but a profound question about what he means to us personally and how that affects our lives.

Alex Navalny, the dissident Russian political leader who died in an Arctic prison on 16 February, testified to the profound impact his faith in Jesus had upon him.

“The fact is that I am a Christian…I was once quite a militant atheist myself…But now I am a believer, and that helps me a lot in my activities…There are fewer dilemmas in my life because there is a book in which, in general, it is more or less clearly written what action to take in every situation.”

Faith in Jesus changed his life and undergirded his moral courage to sacrifice his freedom, and even his life for the sake of justice. He testifies to the fact that he not only found comfort in the message of Jesus but discovered in him his political marching orders and inspiration to lay down his life for others.

So, who do you say Jesus is? How does that affect how we live in this world today? I suspect even believers can be practical agnostics living our lives as if the appearance of God in person on planet Earth made no difference to our lives.

I wonder how our weeks would change if we lived it believing completely in Jesus and what he said? Now that would be an interesting experiment!