History enthusiasts may know of Napoleon’s decision, but how many know his reasoning? Napoleon was amazed at how one man, Jesus, had “conquered” more people after dying than any military commander had ever conquered, and not through force. Napoleon saw that his men would die for him, but only because of his charisma. Jesus had people willing to die for him simply because of love.
Napoleon coveted such love and devotion, but realized that only Jesus had ever achieved it. Christ asked one thing of His followers: their hearts. And He got what He asked for — over and over again throughout history. He got a complete, 100% devotion from the core of His people. Napoleon could only marvel at that.
Religious leaders have certainly invoked passion and devotion to their causes. Gandhi is a great example. Much of what he taught resonated with people, yet how many would die for him personally? No leader has provoked such a great love that continues centuries later except Christ.
How could that be? It may not prove Christ is who He said He was, but it makes Jesus completely unique. Only Jesus throughout all time has “conquered” like this.
But, of course, we Christians aren’t even willing to die for ideas alone, or even for a dead person’s teachings. We are living and dying for the God who personally walks with us and has promised Himself to us forever. Napoleon could never give his soldiers that. Nor could any human. We give ourselves now so we can continue to have that relationship forever.