Tomorrow, June 28, marks the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Austria’s Archduke Ferdinand and his wife Sophie on the streets of Sarajevo. One lone gunman, a Serbian anarchist named Gavrilo Princip fired two shots killing both and setting the fuse that led to the beginning of World I a few weeks later on August 4.
WWI many say was the start of the twentieth century. Today a large sign over the spot where the assassination took place says, “The Street Corner Where The Twentieth Century Began”. There is no question this event certainly led to other key events that continue to impact our world.
Four world empires collapsed in WWI. Out the ruins of the Russian empire came the Soviet Union which led to the Cold War against America and the West. The bitter defeat of Germany sowed the seeds of fascism that led to Nazi Germany and World War II.
WWI created the modern Middle East which is coming apart before our eyes in Syria and Iraq today.
We have a focus on this subject coming in the July/August issue of the Good News. We have also done a Beyond Today program which presents a different angle to this very large and important story.
WWI is really an important event to understand. One man made a significant impact on history. Unfortunately it was a tragic impact costing millions of lives. It would be too easy to dismiss what Princip did by saying, “well, something else would have created the spark that started the war and all that followed”. True. But that’s not what happened. One man began it all and in this is a very big lesson.
This should lead us to consider what another man did and the impact He had on a larger swath of history. That man is Jesus Christ, the Word, God in the flesh who came to live a righteous life and die for the redemption of humanity and then be resurrected that we might have eternal life.
This is the great mystery–the cosmic event–that is more significant than any other event in human history.
“…For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many” (Romans 5:15 Romans 5:15But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, has abounded to many.
American King James Version×)
History often turns on something done by one person or in small, far off ways. Salvation, history and our hope for eternal life hinges on what one Man, Jesus Christ, did for all.
As the world focuses on an event one hundred years ago that spawned a century of change let’s focus on the the Great Event that will yet impact the world for eternity.