Thursday, July 31, 2008

Just Wondering

I was thinking this afternoon (that's dangerous, I know) about Jesus statement to his disciples that they could expect to be hated and persecuted because he was. When I was growing up I was always taught that this meant if I didn't dress like the world, didn't listen to the same music as the world, and didn't hang around with worldly people, then those folks would hate me, make fun of me, call me names, etc. It would be okay though, because Jesus had been hated, been made fun of, and been called names. That message is still being preached in some churches around the country.

There is no question that Jesus was hated and persecuted by some of the people in his day. Heck, they even put him to death! But, I started to think about the folks who did the persecuting and the reasons why. Amazingly enough, it was not the "sinners" that hated Jesus, made fun of him and called him names. Those were the very people who followed Jesus. They were the ones who hung on his every word and who believed that he was the Messiah.

It was the religious leaders who hounded Jesus wherever he went, always looking for a way to trip him up and get him in trouble. They were the ones who said Jesus had a demon and implied that he was an illegitimate child. And, they called Jesus names like drunkard and glutton because he hung out with the "sinners". Wait a minute. I thought the sinners, the ones who drink and party, are the very people I'm supposed to stay away from so my "testimony" isn't damaged. I mean, heaven forbid someone should see me go into a bar or attend a party where "lost" people are gathered. They might start calling me a drunk or something like that, or at least might think that I'm not a very good Christian.

After all, I'm supposed to be a follower of Jesus and he would never put himself in a position where others would see him hanging out with the riff-raff and think badly of him. Would he?

Wait, you mean...?



Debby said...

Very good post. A lot to think about.

co_heir said...

Thanks, Debby. I think we worry far too often about making people think we have it all together, when what we need is to be honest and show others that we are broken people in need of God's grace just like everyone else.

franklin said...

I actually preached a sermon at WPC once where I made this point. I don't think anyone "got it". I mean, if "the world" hated Jesus and "the world" is going to hate us...the obvious question is "who is the world"?

I think the answer is...whoever hated Jesus. And...after reading his life...who would you say hated him? People like US!

co_heir said...

Scary isn't it?

Mark Main said...

Just found your blog from the link on Jeff McQ's blog. Really enjoy your thought process on this one. When I first started to change my ideas about what it means to follow Christ it led me away from my traditional church upbringing.

I felt really bad about some of the negative reactions I started to receive. It wasn't until I started to see exactly the point you made in this post that I was able to move past it.

co_heir said...

Isn't it a shame that such negativity is directed at those who want to really follow Jesus?

Rainer said...

This is one of those concepts I have come to realize over the past couple of years... and one of those things I have had to "un-learn" after growing up in the church.

Seems that the more I study who Jesus really was, and what he really did, the more I realize that we (as Christianity) have managed to get most things completely backwards.

Weekend Wanderings

After some really warm days here in the sunny South, the temperatures have been just a bit above normal with a fair amount of rain. The prof...