While He was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, suddenly arrived. A large mob, with swords and clubs, was with him from the chief priests and elders of the people. His betrayer had given them a sign: “The One I kiss, He’s the One; arrest Him!” So he went right up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. “Friend,” Jesus asked him, “why have you come?” Then they came up, took hold of Jesus, and arrested Him. At that moment one of those with Jesus reached out his hand and drew his sword. He struck the high priest’s slave and cut off his ear. Then Jesus told him, “Put your sword back in its place because all who take up a sword will perish by a sword. Or do you think that I cannot call on My Father, and He will provide Me at once with more than 12 legions of angels? How, then, would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way?”
Watch TV and you’ll hear the Name of God the Father and God the Son mocked, used in vain, used to curse, and many other ways that deny the holiness, beauty, majesty, power, glory, and wonder of who He is. Watch movies and listen to music and you’ll find the same things. In fact, go out into the marketplace and you’ll hear these same abuses of the beautiful Name of our Savior. And yet, short of boycotting some products or writing letters/emails or phoning TV stations or sending petitions, you’ll not really see any other visible demonstration of outrage from Christians.
And yet, throughout the world we see angry people causing all manner of evil due to the denigration of the name of their prophet. What’s the difference? Why don’t Christians burn down things when Jesus is mocked? Just a few thoughts…
1. There is coming a day when Jesus will make all things right and all who were mockers of His Name will bow at His Name and confess He is Lord. There is a sense in which I don’t have to defend the honor of Jesus’ Name…He’s quite capable of defending Himself, thank you. And on that day when every tongue confesses that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father, the mockers will be put to shame for eternity. I might be angry for a day. The wrath of God will be poured out for eternity.
2. When the Name of Jesus is mocked, every Christian should remember that s/he once mocked Jesus, too. We were all by nature children of wrath fully deserving the full wrath of God. And yet our God showed us mercy and grace through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. While fully responsible for actions, we were acting in ignorance according to our natures. But when God said, “Let there be light” in our hearts, we saw for the first time the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. We then saw our sin for what it was and the beauty of Christ for who He is and we repented and trusted in the finished work of Jesus to save us. So, instead of burning things up when others mock Jesus, we show patience knowing the Savior was patient with us.
3. Which leads us to the work we should do now. Instead of burning things up, we warn and plead with those who mock the Savior to repent of their sin and turn to Christ. If we truly love Christ, we will love making much of Him to sinners knowing He came to save sinners. Because we have been forgiven much, we will want others to know of the beauty of His grace poured out on sinners. We will warn these mockers of the fire of hell which will never die out. The work we do isn’t to defend the honor of His Name but to herald His Name as we seek reconciliation between God and man through the preaching of the gospel.
4. All of this reminds us that Jesus is the living, resurrected Lord. Jesus continues to be at work even today, right now. The Holy Spirit works through us as we make much of Jesus who is risen from the dead. We have a story to tell. Jesus is coming again and will make all things right. We don’t have to defend the honor of a dead man…He’s alive!
I pray that those who feel the need to defend the name and honor of a dead man will see the glory of the true and living Lord who has made a way of escape from the wrath of God through His death and resurrection. Let us pray that their blinded eyes will be opened to the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life who is the only way to the true Father of all.