When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to tell her the news that she, a virgin, would give birth to a Son, one of the things that he told her was very simply this: “He will be great” (Luke 1:32). The child who would be born to Mary and Joseph would one day be a very great man. But just how great?
Jesus is great because he brought atoms and planets and galaxies into existence (John 1:3; Hebrews 1:2; Colossians 1:16).
Jesus is great because right now in this instant he upholds every created atom in the universe by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3).
Jesus is great because he is the Word of God who both was God and with God in the beginning (John 1:1-3).
Jesus is great because in him are the life and light of men (John 1:4).
Jesus is great because when he shines into darkness, darkness cannot overcome it (John 1:5).
Jesus is great because though he was “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15) and was he in whom “the whole fullness of deity dwell[ed] bodily” (Colossians 2:9), he “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7).
Jesus is great because he loved those who hated and rejected him most (John 1:10-11; Matthew 5:44-45).
Jesus is great because not only did the Creator humble himself to serve his creation, he also “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8) that sinful mankind might be reconciled to the Father.
Jesus is great because he is the spotless “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) that we might stand in hope before a holy God.
Jesus is great because he faithfully finished the task his Father gave him to complete: to seek and to save the lost (John 19:30; Luke 19:10).
Jesus is great because he was perfect (Matthew 5:48).
Jesus is great because he never did any wrong (Hebrews 4:15).
Jesus is great because the name his Father has given him is great (Hebrews 1:4-5; Philippians 2:9).
Jesus is great because one day the knee of every created being will bow before him and confess that he alone is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11).
There is no one like him. Among the great men of history, he stands head and shoulders above the rest. No one is like him in power and in humility, in strength and in meekness, or in wisdom and in innocence. No one compares to him in purity, in righteousness, in justice, in self-control, or in self-sacrifice. He alone embodies all honor, beauty, joy, peace, gentleness, and kindness. No one holds a candle to this one who would be great.
He is the greatest because despite greatness he became the least. He is the highest because despite the lofty heights in which he dwelled, he became the lowest. He is the most glorious because despite unspeakable honor, he became the most dishonored.
Who can stand beside him? Who can comprehend him? Who can overtake him? Who can bind his hand?
Truly Jesus was great. No other human being to ever walk the earth comes close. This is the one I follow. This is the one who invites you now to follow him, too. He would be your greatest hope if you would have him.