Over the past few years, I’ve heard an assortment of people say, “Let’s make Jesus popular again!” Hearing this has always rankled me somewhat, particularly when the words came from someone speaking them from a church pulpit. I mean, how could Jesus be unpopular in a church?
The phrase came up again today and I thought it time to delve a little deeper into what is really happening when we say this.
Take a look at words and terms associated with the definition of popular: approval, affection, well-known, common, attractive, trendy, crowd-pleasing, familiar, ordinary.
Are you cringing yet?
I sure did, and was almost in tears as I made this little discovery.
Is this what we want, fellow Christians? To reduce Jesus to the common, the ordinary, the trendy? Of course not. Yet we have done that very thing, in ignorance, perhaps, but it’s happened just the same. In our attempts to make church – and Jesus – relevant, we have disrespected Him as the Saviour, the Almighty God, the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords. We have succumbed to the world view which has long ago stopped seeing God for who and what He is.
How irreverent. How arrogant.
God didn’t send his Son to win a popularity contest. His motive wasn’t to present eternal salvation in a crowd-pleasing way to gain our approval. God doesn’t need brownie points.
He gave us his Son, Jesus Christ, because He loved us that much. Despite our sin and our stubbornness and our selfishness, the Father opened His heart and shared Jesus with us so that we could be with Him for all eternity. He’s not concerned about being popular. He just wants a relationship with His sons and daughters – us. And He wants us to bring other people into His family so they can have that same kind of relationship.
Oh, I love that!
My conclusion is that there is no such thing as the popular Jesus.
There is only ONE Jesus.
He is the One who loves me unconditionally. He is the One who sticks by me through my lowest lows and highest highs. He is the One who never lets me down, never forgets about me, and never throws me under the bus when I mess up.
There is no need to make Him popular, because there is no one higher!