November 2, 2015

Would You Help Jesus Up? Depends Really.

You see these memes all the time on Facebook, don’t you? Perhaps we should replace actual memory verses with memery verses.  Rather than teach our children “While we were still sinners Christ died for us”, we could teach “I woulda helped Jesus up if I’d been there.”

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So, apart from making some smart aleck comment about the cheesiness of this meme, or snidely remarking that something very similar also happened to another bloke called Jesus two thousand years ago,  the best answer I can come up with is “No probably not.” Or maybe it all depends. Maybe, given the right time, given the right circumstances. Which these don’t appear to be.

Given what my heart is like?.  Given my cowardice? Given my fears? Probably not.

You see, when it came down to it, NO ONE did actually help Jesus up. No one. Not voluntarily at least.  Check out Luke 23:26

‘And as they led him away, the seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus.”

What was that word? Seized. It’s not like they had to beat back eager faithful witnesses of the kingdom of God. “One at a time people, one at a time!”, or “First come first served!”  No, they seized someone, who gets his name up in lights as a rather reluctant cross-carrier.  They seized someone in the same sense they had “seized” Jesus (Luke 22:54). Anyone volunteer to be seized? Anyone?

And where were the disciples by this stage, you know the actual Twelve?  Dead or scarpered. That’s where.  Sure, we know Peter followed at a distance before the trial and we know how that ended up. We know that John came and watched it all, and close enough for Jesus to speak to him.  But it was all done and dusted by then.  Lots of people mourning and lamenting for him following him, but notice it wasn’t the manly men who would have died for Jesus, but the women who are mentioned, not the most qualified in that culture, that’s for sure.

So why would we type “Yes”? Because we know the end of the story. We know who the good guys are.  We know who the winner is.  We know that Jesus ends up winning, and we love to stick with winners.  But at this point? The point where Jesus is keeling over, exhausted from a beating and unable to pick himself up off the ground to stumble to his execution?  At the point where it looks like Jesus is the loser?  I reckon my finger would be hovering over the “N” on the keyboard. I reckon they’d have to more than seize me, they’d have to catch me first.

Ultimately we type “Yes” because we don’t believe we’re as bad as we are.  We’re the little children in Matthew 19, not the rich young bloke. We’re the sinner in the temple asking for mercy, not the Pharisee.  We’re the teachers of the law, not the mob that doesn’t know it.  We’re the common people hearing Jesus gladly, not the educated sniffy types.

Typing “Yes” just negates the need for the cross.  Type “Yes” and watch that meme morph before your eyes into a self-help manual for your best life now.  Type “Yes” and watch Jesus transform before your eyes into the guru or a life-coach that you need to tidy up the edges. Type “Yes” and you get a good solid religion for good solid people.

Type “No” however, and you get an empowering Saviour.  Type “No” and you admit that your only hope is the gospel.  Type “No” and you admit you love yourself and your life in such a way that only a more powerful love can transform you. Type “No” and you cry out for what you do not possess: a fearless, passionate love that enables you to take up  your own cross with joy.

Go on, type “No”. I dare you. And see what happens.






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There is no guarantee that Jesus will return in our desired timeframe. Yet we have no reason to be anxious, because even if the timeframe is not guaranteed, the outcome is! We don’t have to waste energy being anxious; we can put it to better use.

Stephen McAlpine – futureproof

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