Jesus Is Not Surprised
I had lunch recently with a great friend and fellow Christ follower, Mike Jones. Mike helps me with the Bible class I teach on Sunday’s at Cross Church called Sola Scriptura. He along with another great couple take care of the details of managing a class with a roster of 200 folks so that I can concentrate on teaching God’s Word.
It was Mike’s idea for me to begin our fall teaching series tackling the great cultural issues that the church in USAmerica are facing today. And so last Sunday we kicked things off by looking at what the Bible says about legalized marijuana. Yeah, you heard me correctly, a Bible lecture, on Sunday morning, on marijuana.
When I was called to the ministry 30 years ago it was never on my radar that the church would ever be called upon to provide clear teaching on whether or not it was okay to smoke a joint.
And THAT, dear reader illustrates the landscape of today’s culture in our nation as compared to less than a generation ago.
During our time together on Sunday, I reminisced about the “good ‘ol days” of the culture wars of our past. When I was a kid growing up I can remember going to church camp in July and NOT being allowed to wear shorts. Can you imagine such a thing today?!
A term that causes all sorts of weird images among today’s young people, but which harkens back to the days of “no short pants allowed” is the term “mixed bathing.” This refers to, of course, boys and girls not being allowed to swim in a pool together. That was a “no-no” back in the day.
I remember when things like dancing and listening to secular music were big deals.
Oh, how far we have come. The fact that we chuckle when mentioning these icons of the long ago cultural fixations of the church serves to prove the point.
Now we have much more serious issues to discuss in church. Such as:
Will we allow our buildings to be used for a same-sex wedding?
Or will we ban a transgender person from using the rest room in the foyer of his/her choice regardless of body parts with which they were born?
Or, yes, if marijuana is legalized in our state, is it then a sin to smoke a joint while watching Monday Night Football?
I would say that most Christians 40 years of age and older are, at times, shocked and dismayed at how the culture has changed and many struggle to know how the church should react. So let me make a very clear statement, the same statement I made in to my class on Sunday…
Jesus is not shocked and dismayed.
In fact, Jesus is not surprised by any of what he sees happening in our nation or around the world. Sad, yes. Surprised, no.
And as a church, we must remember that the times we live in today, are in so many ways, not unlike what life would have been like for the first century church in the moral context of the Roman Empire. One need only study the depravity of ancient Corinth and then read Paul’s letters to the Corinthian church to understand that we face nothing today that is new.
So, I will say it again…
Jesus is not surprised.
As followers of Jesus, neither should we be. Our task as His followers is not so much cultural as it is Kingdom centered. Jesus is about the business of building His new Kingdom. One on earth that is the same as the one in heaven. We are His ambassadors ushering in and building that Kingdom.
Remember that light shines the brightest when it is the darkest.