Lent: Day Eight

Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. -John 17:24

Alexander the Great is often ranked as one of the most influential people in history. He was born in July 356 BC and died in June 323 BC. He was king of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia. He succeeded his father Philip II to the throne at age 20. In ten years, he had created one of the largest empires in the ancient world stretching from Greece to north eastern India. He never lost a battle, and founded some 20 cities that bore his name. The resulting spread of Greek culture in the east resulted in a new Hellenistic civilization that spread over geography and time to arguably the 1920’s of our current age. Military academies throughout the world still teach his military tactics.

On June 10th or 11th 323 BC Alexander the Great died in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II in Babylon 32 years after he was born. Several different accounts of his death suggest he died over a period of 11-14 days after being poisoned or by natural causes such as Typhoid fever.

323 years later another man was born, and although only a handful of people recognized him as a prince at his birth, he declared himself so to the public at about 30 years of age. He also lived a short life and claimed nobility for only three years before his death by crucifixion in about 33 AD. Like Alexander the Great this Jesus of Nazareth had lofty ambitions. He wanted to bring his chosen ones into his Father’s kingdom for eternity. However, unlike Alexander the Great he did not seem to get very far. It is recorded that by the time of his death he had garnered a following of only 120 people (Acts 1:15). Alexander and Jesus had similar identities and similar ambitions. However, there is one significant difference between them: one man lost his kingdom.

Whether it is our own room, our own home, our career, or our own lifestyle, like Alexander the Great, we have all sought our own kingdoms. Unlike Alexander, Jesus obtained an eternal, indestructible and glorious kingdom. Oh… and he wants to share it with us – forever.

That is Easter.