Almost fifteen hundred years ago, Dionysius Exiguus began anchoring all of mankind’s history to a very important event – the birth of Christ. The abbreviation, B.C., means before Christ, and A.D. is an abbreviation for anno Domini, a Latin term that means “in the year of our Lord.” This became the most widely accepted way to measure human history, illustrating that Jesus’ life and death had an incredible impact on mankind.
Of late there has been a movement to abandon those abbreviations. This effort reminds me of my futile attempts as a child to block out the irritation of my classmates or four siblings by putting my fingers in my ears. That solved nothing. It changed nothing. I just temporarily insulated myself from the real world.
There may be those who abandon the use of B.C. and A.D., but that will not change the fact that God lived among us. Jesus was the greatest teacher that ever lived, and a prolific miracle worker. He was the God-man who defied sickness, death, hell, the grave, and gravity. But, in spite of His demonstrations of power and love, He was “rejected of men” - men who were tucked away in their ivory towers, their intellectual fortresses, their political strongholds or their local pubs, philosophizing, sermonizing, and politicizing. They had it all figured out and were not to be dissuaded by the facts. They simply put their fingers in their ears and closed their eyes while Jesus changed the world.
The fact that B.C. and A.D. irritate some people, highlights just how powerful Jesus still is. If He was just a mythological figure, people wouldn’t care. It is because He is real and still changing lives that some would rather not be reminded of Him every time they see a date in history. It is not intellectual honesty that drives the desire for change, it is a frantic effort to distance themselves from the truth.
On April 16, 2017 A.D., billions of people will celebrate Easter. Easter is not a meaningless holiday; it is a time when believers recognize that Jesus rose from the dead. His resurrection was proof that He was who He said He was. That one act fulfilled Scripture, outwitted His opponents, and sealed faith in the hearts of His sincere followers and billions of others who would eventually come to believe in Him. And He did it right under the noses of the religious leaders who were in cahoots with the most powerful political system on the planet. It is history’s most magnificent true story.
In short, Christ changed the calendar and the course of history without getting a degree, without hobnobbing with religious or political leaders, without using show business and without using violence. He did not try to please men or be politically correct, He just demonstrated His power and love. When it was happening few appreciated it, but today most of the world measures history based on the life of Christ. The world became a different place when He stepped into it.
The same thing happens when individuals let Jesus into their lives today. I am not referring to a casual expression of faith in a God. Neither am I referring to a faith that is academic or religious. I am talking about a personal encounter with God that makes a person willing to change their lifestyle and, live an honest life, with God’s divine help. Christians sometimes refer to their life before conversion as B.C. - it has a double meaning for them. Before Christ they were confused, addicted, angry and afraid, but then came Jesus. They will never stop measuring time using B.C. and A.D., because it is the most honest and celebratory way to measure everything.