Day 284 – Common Starting Point
On: August 11, 2015   |   By: SWLadmin   |   Under: Blog   |   Comments: Comments are off

The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. They blindfolded him and demanded, “Prophesy! Who hit you?” And they said many other insulting things to him. Luke 22:63-65

What to make of those who would mock Jesus? Two very public incidents, at the time of writing, have demonstrated that those who don’t get on with God are not reticent at insulting Him in public: Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine, and Stephen Fry, the TV presenter and comedian, both mock God and rant against Him in public. They are not the first and, no doubt, will not be the last.

How should those who worship God, and name Jesus as Lord and Saviour respond? Should we retaliate, calling down curses upon such infidels, and all who side with them? Should we smile at their blindness and placidly tolerate their cynicism, sure in the knowledge that God is more than able to look after Himself?

Instead of anxiously pondering how I might steer a path between these two extremes, I reckon the best starting point to guide me is to consider what Jesus would have done. Straight away I think of Jesus’s words on the cross, which point to a completely different starting point: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34

“Always look on the bright side of life”, Monty Python’s crucifixion song from the satirical film, Life of Brian, can be considered either unforgivably blasphemous, or a probing dig at unconsidered religion. If we are to engage meaningfully about the reality of the gospel – sharing who Jesus was, why He came to Earth, and what he did on that cross – surely we must start with a common starting point, and work our way from there. Taking a deep breathe and entering into conversation around insults, may be a fast track to meaningful discussion.

Think of the Hebo cartoon that mocks Jesus hanging on the cross. It’s exactly what some of the spectators did on the day itself, so I think it is a valid starting point to engage with those who would mock Jesus. Of course, some serious homework will be needed to think through the conversational direction of travel, but we are promised we will be given the words. Remember Day 259, when we were in Luke 21:13-15? “And so you will bear testimony to me. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.”

However upsetting their comments may be, we need not fear those who insult God.

Prayer:

Father God, grant me patience to start conversations with people where they are, even if that means being uncomfortable with their disregard for You. Amen

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