Ministry Today – Serving and empowering church leaders

Jesus-MT-Know-FactsDo you know Jesus? Do you really? Following the recent unveiling of a papyrus fragment in which Jesus reportedly says, "my wife," many historians are now questioning what people know about the life of Jesus.

Aside from the bearded, longhaired, Sunday-school image of Jesus, a new poll reveals that Americans are not at all familiar with the impactful life of this man.

According to the poll, most people do not grasp Jesus' influence on culture despite recognizing His image some 2,000 years after his death. Sixty-six percent believe Jesus is the most-recognized figure in history, but most were not able to correctly answer questions regarding His influence.

The survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Zondervan to investigate the knowledge of Jesus' continued impact on culture, also found that:

  • 41 percent of Americans believe that mans' interpretation of Jesus' teachings hurt women's rights more than helped them, contradictory to the biblical account.

  • 89 percent of Americans do not know that Jesus pioneered the concepts of universal literacy and education; 27 percent believed it to be Socrates.

  • 47 percent of Americans do not know that Jesus was the first man to advocate the idea of societal inclusion and equality.

"We live in a world where Jesus' impact is immense even if his name goes unmentioned," writes Jesus expert John Ortberg, pastor and author of the new book, Who Is This Man? The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus.

"From christenings to weddings to sickrooms to funerals, it is in Jesus' name that people are hatched, matched, patched and dispatched. It's a shame that Americans don't really know more about the most influential man in history."

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