Bringing the Text to Life

The Human Factor Luke 1:68-79

The Human Factor

Jesus had the gift of charisma — but also true humanity. Both are essential for walking in the way of peace.


Nothing is more essential to effective and inspirational leadership, and you know it when you see it. This month, it will light up the screen in a new movie called The Human Factor, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president.

Mandela “has a great charisma,” says tough guy Eastwood. Those aren’t the words you might expect from the gritty star of Dirty Harry, Unforgiven and Gran Torino. Mandela “had the charisma to bring the country together,” says Eastwood, explaining why he chose to direct the film. “The unique way he does it is what this story is all about.”

More on the story in a minute. First, let’s look at the prophecy of a priest named Zechariah from the first chapter of Luke. A baby named John has just been born to Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth — a child who will grow up to be John the Baptist. Luke tells us that “his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy” (Luke...

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