Is it cool to be a Christian?
Another reflection from my friend Davy Blackburn. You can read more of his work here.
A young Christian (in years and faith) once said to me, ‘it’s not cool to be a Christian with my friends’. I suppose what he really meant was, it’s not popular with my non Christian friends. Jesus was not always popular. He said ‘love your enemies’ (Matt 6:44). Friends sometimes say, get your own back. Jesus said ‘do not commit adultery’(Matt 5:27) some friends say ‘she/he will never know’. Again Jesus said ‘the eye is the lamp of the body’(Matt 6:22), friends say, there is no harm in looking! Jesus also said ‘but seek ye first the kingdom of God’ (Matt 6:33) Our friends may say look after number one.
You know, sometimes friends seem cool and very altogether. But if they knew they were to die tomorrow, how would they spend their last night? Do you think they would be worrying over you? As the last days of Jesus life were played out, he spent the preparation for death by praying for others. John 17:20-24 recounts that prayer the full record you can read in your bible, but I will simply quote an extract from v.23 ‘Father, I want those you have gave me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory’
Jesus had no illusions what was about to happen to him, he had already predicted his death. He was not about to run away or hide from his destiny. He had one mission, to bring people back to his Father by taking the sin of the world upon his shoulders on that cross at Calvary. And it was not for his friends alone but even for enemies like Paul who would be there, condoning the crucifixion and thinking he was doing a service for God.
I am sure there were times in the lives of the disciples where they felt it was too much of a burden following Jesus, and particularly after his death, they were on the verge of slipping back to their old lives in fear of retribution. We are not called to live like we are ashamed of Jesus, but to be proud to bear his name. You might feel you are not worthy to be called a child of God, I have often shared that sentiment, but none of us are worthy except by his shed blood.
You know something? I reckon Jesus was the coolest guy who ever lived. He never denied his friends or turned away those the world shunned, but welcomed them like they were the most important person in the world. Next time you feel the urge to think it is uncool to bear the name of Jesus, think upon his prayer as he made his way to die for you, and be glad you understand this truth and pray for your friends who cannot yet see this.