Jesus' impact unrecognized

Sunday, November 25, 2012
Charlie Butts (

A study conducted by Harris Interactive for Zondervan Publishers shows that "Americans don't know the facts about Jesus."

While 66 percent believe Jesus is the most recognized figure in history, the study [pdf]shows that few understand His impact.

Ortberg, John (MPPC)"A lot of people don't know [Jesus'] role in creating a society where all human beings are recognized as having rights and that everybody should be included and be considered equal," says Pastor John Ortberg of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in California.

"That really was based on the idea which began in little Israel and spread through the world, through Jesus, that every human being is made in the image of God and is loved by God, and out of that flowed ideas, such as we should have compassion for everybody," Ortberg adds.

He contends things like orphanages and hospitals originated with followers of Jesus who remembered His teachings and compassion.

He also points out there was a gender imbalance during the time of Jesus -- 1 million women to 1.4 million men -- because many girls died at birth or through exposure or infanticide because of their sex.

"It was really through the teaching of Jesus, the way that He would teach women as well as men, that they equally bore the image of God, that they were the first witnesses of the resurrection and were leaders in the early church, where over time in society at large the idea of the dignity, worth, equality of women spread," the pastor explains. "So, Jesus' teachings elevated women."

Ortberg points to the Harris/Zondervan poll, which reveals that 89 percent of Americans do not know Jesus pioneered the concepts of universal literacy and education. He thinks it is a shame people do not know more about who they know to be the most recognized figure in history.

John Ortberg is the author of Who Is This Man?: The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus.

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