What if Jesus Christ was never born? What would it be like here and in the rest of the world? Would it make a difference at all? It is a thought provoking question isn't it? What if Jesus had never been born?

If Jesus was never born, what a difference it would make in politics. Our representative form of democracy rests on explicitly Christian principles of church and state. So do our principles of free speech and religious tolerance. In fact, the very founding of this nation was motivated by the goal to establish a Christ-centered community. If Jesus was never born, there wouldn't be a United States of America, at least as we know it today.

If Jesus was never born, what a difference it would make in education. The world's oldest universities were all founded on Christian principles, so that students could grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. The same is true of nearly every one of the first one hundred colleges and universities in America. Eventually people would have developed institutions of higher education, but there would be no Oxford, no Harvard, no Yale, and no Princeton. Furthermore, Christians have always been pioneers in promoting literacy and universal education. Even America's public school system is part of the legacy of Puritan education. To this day, linguists are working all over the world, in the name of Jesus, to put native languages in written form and teach people to read the Bible.

If Jesus was never born, what a difference it would make in literature, music, and the arts. There would be no Messiah for Handel to write into his famous oratorio-no Christmas music at all. There would be no Pieta by Michelangelo, and no Last Supper by Leonardo. There would be no cathedrals in Europe, no Hagia Sophia or Notre Dame. There would be no Gospels and no New Testament, and therefore no story of the prodigal son, no parable of the good Samaritan, and no Sermon on the Mount. There would be no Divine Comedy by Dante, and no Paradise Lost by Milton.

If Jesus was never born, what a difference it would make in science and medicine. It was the Christian worldview-with its insistence on the rational order of the universe and man's dominion over creation-that gave rise to modern science. Followers of Jesus Christ were also pioneers in the art of medicine. The first hospitals were established by Christians who believed they had a God-given responsibility to heal the sick.

If Jesus was never born, what a difference it would make in charity and the protection of life. It was the followers of Christ who first introduced the Roman world to disinterested benevolence, to helping someone who couldn't help you in return. Pagans were amazed to see that Christians not only took care of their own needy people, but also provided for other people's poor. It was also the followers of Christ who first abandoned the nearly universal practice of infanticide. The birth of Christ taught them to protect the lives of their own children, and to rescue foundlings and orphans.

Humanly speaking, none of this would have happened if Jesus was never born. What I have said so far is only just the beginning, of course, and it is also true that many wrong things have been done in the name of Christ-that is a topic for another occasion. But simply in terms of secular history, the life of Jesus Christ has had a far greater and more positive influence on the world than anyone else in history.

But to bring what I have said closer to home, if Jesus was never born, what a difference it would make to your own destiny. You would have no atonement for your sin, no resurrection from the dead, no hope of eternal life, and no Savior to call a friend.

What if Jesus was never born? But Jesus was born. As the angel said to the Christmas shepherds: "Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:12). And the rest, as they say, is history.

Thank God He Was

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