Jesus never entertained an evil thought; he practiced no deceit, had no selfish desires, engaged in no false pretenses, harmed no one, and voiced no guile or hatred, even to those who maligned and mistreated him. He understood people like no other person did, and he spoke and taught as one “who had authority” (Matthew 7:29), a fact that even his critics admitted. Yet he received no honor or accolades. He had no home of his own. He once described his plight, saying, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Luke 9:58). To top it off, his own people crucified him.
This man’s unique and exemplary life, and his suffering, death, and physical resurrection from the dead transformed his handpicked disciples as well as the lives of many others. As he once said, “I came that [you] may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10 NRSV). The lives that he transformed in turn changed and transformed much of the world: its morals, ethics, health care, education, economics, science, law, the fine arts, and government. These changes, often not recognized, are still largely operative in the West, continuing to produce many positive effects that are also present in some non-Western areas of the world.
— Alvin Schmidt, from How Christianity Changed the World, p. 15