Who is the most recognizable, influential, significant person in the history of the world? Jesus Christ is, of course, the predictable answer to emerge from any poll of Christians. But what if we employed an objective standard of some sort?
In 2013 Time Magazine launched the most sophisticated effort ever attempted to discern who really is the most important person in human history.
The article that revealed their findings also supplied an explanation of some factors considered by the algorithm.
“Who’s bigger: Washington or Lincoln? Hitler or Napoleon? Charles Dickens or Jane Austen? That depends on how you look at it.
When we set out to rank the significance of historical figures, we decided to not approach the project the way historians might, through a principled assessment of their individual achievements. Instead, we evaluated each person by aggregating millions of traces of opinions into a computational data-centric analysis. We ranked historical figures just as Google ranks web pages, by integrating a diverse set of measurements about their reputation into a single consensus value.
Significance is related to fame but measures something different. Forgotten U.S. President Chester A. Arthur (who we rank as the 499th most significant person in history) is more historically significant than young pop singer Justin Bieber (currently ranked 8633), even though he may have a less devoted following and lower contemporary name recognition. Historically significant figures leave statistical evidence of their presence behind, if one knows where to look for it, and we used several data sources to fuel our ranking algorithms, including Wikipedia, scanned books and Google n-grams.
To fairly compare contemporary figures like Britney Spears against the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, we adjusted for the fact that today’s stars will fade from living memory over the next several generations. Intuitively it is clear that Britney Spears’ mindshare will decline substantially over the next 100 years, as people who grew up hearing her are replaced by new generations. But Aristotle’s reputation will be much more stable because this transition occurred long ago. The reputation he has now is presumably destined to endure. By analyzing traces left in millions of scanned books, we can measure just how fast this decay occurs, and correct for it.”
The article lists their top 100 ranked results. Here are the top 10…
10 Thomas Jefferson
9 Alexander the Great
7 Adolf Hitler
6 George Washington
5 Abraham Lincoln
4 William Shakespeare
and, #1 is wait for it…
1 Jesus Christ
Once again, the Name Above All Names holds strong in the preeminent spot. And so it should be.
There is another name that Jesus himself would insist deserves more attention, but to be fair to Time Magazine, that person was omitted because he isn’t human. But as Christians we obey Jesus by praying to his—and our—Father.
Last week we started a journey through the famous prayer known as the Lord’s Prayer. We focused on the implications of addressing the prayer to God as our Father. Today we will examine the first petition: Hallowed be your name.
2 Points To Help You Pray Prayers That God Wants To Answer
- Meaning Of This Petition
Matthew 6:9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
“Hallowed” is neither a greeting nor a declaration. Rather it is a petition. You are actually asking for something. The Greek word –ἁγιασθήτω (hagiasthētō) – is a passive imperative, as in “God let your name become holy, sacred, revered, respected, special.”
I sometimes wonder if we know what we are praying when we pray “hallowed be your name.” Which name are we referring to? God has many names and titles.
Each of our Father’s names nuance various aspects of his character and reputation. Consider the emphasis on his aseity in the name I Am, his lordship in Adonai (Lord), the divinity of Elohim (God), the goodness of Jehovah Jireh (Provider), the supremacy of El Elyon (Most High), the omniscience of El De’ot (God of knowledge), the eternality of El Olam, and the Ancient of Days.
But any name refers to his whole being and represents all of who God is.
So when we pray for God’s name to be hallowed, we are praying that more people would honor all of who God is—his attributes, his character, his reputation, his deeds, his desires.
This is why it’s important to study Scripture and get to know what God is like.
Have you ever heard this: “The God I believe in doesn’t send people to Hell. The God I believe in is tolerant of all religious expressions of worship”?
Whatever “the God you believe in” is like, is irrelevant. The one true and living God, Yahweh, is the one who revealed himself in Scripture. If the god you are worshipping has a different reputation, different deeds, different standards, different attributes, and a different character than the God of the Bible, then you are worshipping a different god.
If you had business cards printed with your name on it but someone else’s job title, company, e-mail address, and telephone number, what use would that be?
And yet when we misrepresent who God is, we are distributing misprinted business cards on his behalf. So, what we are praying for in the Lord’s Prayer is that who God really is would become known and respected.
- Motive Of All Your Prayers
Matthew 6:9 … hallowed be your name.
This petition is mentioned first and is the umbrella motive of this prayer, as it should be in every prayer.
When your desire is to end up at the West Coast, you will only be successful if you go West. You might take many twists and turns, scenic detours, and other brief deviations from heading due West, but your general direction will always remain westerly.
God’s name being respected is the general direction guiding every prayer you pray. You may ask for your physical needs to be met, your spiritual maturity, the leadership of your church and country, the welfare of those you love, and many other turns en route, but your general heading will always be toward God’s glory (1 Cor 10:31).
If you deviate from this course too drastically, your prayer is misaligned and will prove ineffective.
James 4:2-3 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, [NASB with wrong motives] to spend it on your passions.
If your motive for the prayer is your comfort or your prestige or your selfish desires, then you will not receive. If you want God to answer your prayers when you ask him for provision, protection, guidance, help, health or whatever, then you need to realign your prayer with his agenda—the hallowing of his name.
So you might be wondering – why did Jesus not tell us to exalt his own name? Isn’t Jesus supposed to be the name above all names? After all, even Time Magazine concluded that Jesus is the most recognizable name in the world.
Paul, talking about Jesus’ humility, says in Phil 2:9-11 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
As the Son, by the Spirit, loves to give the Father glory, so the Father and the Spirit heap that glory on the Son. Why? Because he was willing to give it up for the glory of the Father.
The more you give Jesus glory, the more the Father gets glory, and the more glory the Father gives the Son, eternally multiplying and magnifying the glory of the Trinity. And as a Christian, you get to be part of that glory fest, for eternity!
If you are not in Christ, then you are missing the reason for your existence. Turn to Jesus and join him and his followers as we line up our lives and our prayers with this petition and motive: “Our Father in heaven hallowed be your name…”
Source: The Cripplegate | Clint Archer