Better yet, if Jesus walked into a bar would the people there be glad that he came?
The popular notion of Jesus is that he’d walk into a bar and all the down and out sinners would greet him by name and give him a high-five. He’d be the most popular dude there—because you know sinners just couldn’t get enough of good ol’ JC.
I’m being facetious—but only slightly. My portrait isn’t terribly far off. What we’ve done is taken the insults of Pharisees (Matthew 11:19) and constructed an entire portrait of Jesus as a response. But I’ve yet to see a portrait painted of Jesus dabbling in dark magic because the Pharisees said he cast out demons by the power of Satan.
We’ve got Jesus high-fiving his bro’s and hanging out with hookers, when the truth is that his face was set like flint towards Golgotha. Truth is, he didn’t hang out with hookers because he really didn’t “hang out” with anybody. He discipled people. He built relationships with people. He served people and loved people and laughed with people. And he did this in the context of living a real life, but that is a far cry from his being a bar fly.
Our fad Jesus has caused us to shake our heads at statements like this from Spurgeon:
That very church which the world likes best is sure to be that which God abhors.
Chummy “Jesus” isn’t down with that quote. You see worldly people liked Chummy “Jesus”. If he was a popular dude, like we are led to believe, then either Spurgeon is wrong or God abhorred the ministry of Jesus.
Or maybe what needs to go is Chummy “Jesus”.
Please, don’t read me wrong. Jesus was (and is) a friend of sinners and quite likely was a breath of fresh air in comparison to the religious elite of his day. For he taught with authority and compassion. But let’s not forget that he was also quite off-putting. In John 6a good amount of his disciples decided to leave him because he was saying hard things. And lets not forget that the crowd—likely filled with his former buds—shouted out a chorus of “Crucify Him!”
So if the church is going to follow in her Master’s footsteps then we would do well to set our eyes on the cross and not the latest opinion polls. Jesus might have had a season where he could walk into a bar and everybody would know his name. But those same people would crucify him a couple years later.
Thankfully, it was not our Lord’s mission to be liked. He didn’t die for his buds—he died for his enemies. And that’s the whole lot of us.