First, yesterday my twins were having a discussion in the back seat of our van about . . . Napoleon. Really? Yes. It started with, “Mommy, is Napoleon in heaven?” The other jumped in, “Of course not!! He was a horrible man and left his army in Egypt!” Really? Yes, he did.
Second, last night I told my husband about the kids’ conversation and he directed me to the following quote about Christ by Napoleon found in Ravi Zacharias’ book Jesus Among Other Gods (p. 149). I’ll include it in a moment, but for now, on to I John.
Third, this morning during our family devotions we were in I John and discussing love–the love of God for us which leads to our love for others. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent his only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiaion for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (I John 4:7-11). It is the love of God that saves us from the penalty and rule of sin. In Christ, we are now free to sacrificially love as He has loved us.
So, back to Napoleon . . .
After a lifetime of seeking to conquer the world with an iron fist, Napoleon realized that his conquests–and the means of his conquests–were infinitely inferior to Christ’s conquest of humanity through Divine Love. Napoleon was right, Jesus rules like no other Man for Jesus loves like no other Man.
When exiled on the rock of St. Helena, Napoleon called Count Montholon to his side and asked him, “Can you tell me who Jesus Christ was?” The count declined to answer, and Napoleon responded,
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 it 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 lighted 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.
Reread. Think. And ponder the love of our Great God.