Friday, November 03, 2006

Jesus: Less Attractive Than Tony Robbins, and Less Popular Than the Beatles

Speaking of Jesus' appearance, Isaiah writes, "He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, no beauty that we should desire him" (53:2). For this reason C.H. Spurgeon remarked that Paul "determined only to know Jesus Christ, and him crucified, and just to set him forth in his own natural beauties unadorned." "Alas for that wisdom," Spurgeon continued, "which conceals the wisdom of God! It is the most guilty form of folly."

The problem today, however, is that in the subtle estimation of many, the cross was fine for Jesus to die on, but not us. How else can we interpret the fact that the primary goal of many churches these days is to not appear weak, irrelevant, and foolish in the eyes of the world (you know, the way Jesus looked)?

Word and sacrament (the means that God has ordained for the growth of his people), are ordinary means "that from the world's perspective aren't very noble or glamorous... but the great and mighty redemptive power of God is packaged or conveyed in a flimsy and unconvincing form" (D.G. Hart, Mother Kirk, 121).

John Lennon was right, "The Beatles are more popular than Jesus." His words were eerily prophetic, though, since both he and Christ were murdered. But the earthly vindication of Lennon's boast was demonstrated by the fact that, just after his shooting, his vigil gathered a lot more mourners than a measly 120 (Acts 1:15).

Will we, as the church, ever collectively figure out that earthly power and influence is directly antithetical to the power of the gospel? And if we insist on continuing to proclaim a message of foolishness using the means of worldly wisdom, is that not a denial of the cross more dangerous than stem cell research and gay marriage?