Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | December 16, 2009

One Solitary Life

Dr. James Allen Francis (1864–1928) served as Pastor of First Baptist Church of Los Angeles from 1914 to 1928. He wrote a book entitled The Real Jesus and Other Sermons, published by Judson Press in 1926. He included a sermon in this book that he had preached to The National Baptist Young Peoples’ Union on July 11, 1926. In that sermon, Dr. Francis summarized the impact of Jesus’ life with a story that has since become known by the title One Solitary Life. Dr. Francis’ summary of Jesus’ life has been shared countless times through the years. I hope that you’ll take a moment to read it, reflect on its message, and share it with others this Christmas. This is a simple way to turn our thoughts back to Jesus during this busy season filled with so many things that distract us from Him.

Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of peasant woman. He grew up in still another village where He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.

He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a home. He never went to college. He never put his foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but himself.

While He was still a young man the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied him. He was turned over to his enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. His executioners gambled for the only property He had while on earth, and that was his coat. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone, and today He is the central figure of the human race and the leader of the column of progress. I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that were ever built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has this one solitary life.

Some of the versions of this story include these concluding remarks: Over the centuries millions have found new life — forgiveness for sins and peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ. Today He offers this life to all who will believe in Him. “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” Jesus said, “no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” And He said, “He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 14:6, 5:24).


  1. Thanks for the posted from the book of Dr. James Allen Francis.

    Very simple but very powerful things that he has been wrote. Also, you concluded with two references, from book of John!

    Thanks once again.


  2. Omar, can I post this on Facebook? How? jt

  3. John…

    Absolutely. Yes!


  4. […] week’s quote on the bulletin cover is attributed to Dr. James Allan Francis (1864-1928). He served as the pastor of First Baptist Church of Los Angeles from 1914 to 1928. He […]

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