As an historical figure Napoleon Bonaparte fascinates me more than most. A relatively unknown character during a turbulent time in French history, Napoleon rose to the grand heights of general, war strategist and emperor of the first French republic. One cannot read the history of the French Revolution without being impressed by the achievements and legacy of the man who today still spawns all manner of discussion.
However, what fascinates me most about Napoleon is not so much his tactical prowess on the battlefield or the way in which he led a nation into conquest but his articulate and clearly well-thought out words about the person of Jesus Christ. Let me share with you some words from the man himself.
Well then, I will tell you. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne and I myself have founded great empires; but upon what did these creations of our genius depend? Upon force. Jesus alone founded His empire upon love, and to this very day millions will die for Him. . . . I think I understand something of human nature; and I tell you, all these were men, and I am a man; none else is like Him: Jesus Christ was more than a man. . . . I have inspired multitudes with such an enthusiastic devotion that they would have died for me . . . but to do this is was necessary that I should be visibly present with the electric influence of my looks, my words, of my voice. When I saw men and spoke to them, I lightened up the flame of self-devotion in their hearts. . . . Christ alone has succeeded in so raising the mind of man toward the unseen, that it becomes insensible to the barriers of time and space. Across a chasm of eighteen hundred years, Jesus Christ makes a demand which is beyond all others difficult to satisfy; He asks for that which a philosopher may often seek in vain at the hands of his friends, or a father of his children, or a bride of her spouse, or a man of his brother. He asks for the human heart; He will have it entirely to Himself. He demands it unconditionally; and forthwith His demand is granted. Wonderful! In defiance of time and space, the soul of man, with all its powers and faculties, becomes an annexation to the empire of Christ. All who sincerely believe in Him, experience that remarkable, supernatural love toward Him. This phenomenon is unaccountable; it is altogether beyond the scope of man’s creative powers. Time, the great destroyer, is powerless to extinguish this sacred flame; time can neither exhaust its strength nor put a limit to its range. This is it, which strikes me most; I have often thought of it. This it is which proves to me quite convincingly the Divinity of Jesus Christ.
Apparently, Napoleon had a lot more to say on the person of Jesus. It seems as though he was deeply impressed and moved by the lowly carpenter’s son from Nazareth. Why not take the time to read his words about Jesus. Better still, why not read the words of Jesus himself. Let me heartily and lustily (John Wesley used this cool word when getting believers to think about how they sing hymns) commend to you the Gospel of John which can be read for free online. www.esvbible.org/John+1/