Hi, friends. Have you ever had a “discussion” with someone where you seemed to be talking past each other, neither person listening or even caring about what the other is saying? I recently noticed a detail about Jesus’ crucifixion in the Gospel of John that relates to this topic.
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus travels, teaches, heals, and fellowships. He does not go around boasting of His being the son of God; rather, He often replies enigmatically to the skeptical Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes when they directly ask about it. Jesus knew that He had a mission to fulfill before the prophecy of His death and resurrection was fulfilled.
The Jewish leaders hated Him because He was performing miracles and gaining followers. They viewed Him as a blasphemous nuisance. When the leaders reached the point of officially convicting Him for blasphemy, Judas, one of Jesus’ disciples, betrayed Him to the authorities for a bribe.
The Romans who ruled Israel only cared about their tax money; they didn’t know why Jesus was being crucified. Pontius Pilate, the Roman who sent Jesus to execution, thought the man seemed innocent; when the Israelites insisted on His death, Pilate washed his hands of Jesus’ blood.
I recently made a darkly humorous observation: the Romans adorned Jesus’ limp body with a sign reading “King of the Jews,” but the chief priests were angered and wanted the sign changed to “This man said, ‘I am King of the Jews.'” That request was refused. (John 19)
How ironic–Jesus was convicted to a death sentence for calling Himself the son of God–yet the sign hanging on Him when He died essentially read “I am the son of God.”
The Romans carrying out the crucifixions were completely oblivious to the situation at hand, evidenced by the miscommunication. An analogy came to mind between the Romans here vs. some non-believers.
I see memes and comments that severely mischaracterize Christianity. “If you need to believe in heaven to be a good person, you’re a bad person.” “It’s hard to be an atheist–we don’t have the devil to blame everything on.” “Religion wants people to feel worthless.”
Should I bother to explain that being a Christian is as much about now as the future? Or that following in the footsteps of Jesus and living in the Holy Spirit while trusting God is so hard that it’s impossible to do without screwing up? Or that humility isn’t self-doubt–it’s knowing that, though we are all sinners, God loves us unconditionally?
[I acknowledge some very valid criticisms of some modern Christians/the modern church, but some criticisms come from ignorance/slander/resentment, in my opinion.]
Sometimes, we encounter people who don’t understand us and don’t want to–people who are so wrong about us, we don’t know where to begin. I don’t go out of my way to discuss my faith with people who openly resent it; I’d rather avoid the argument and pray that, whether they acknowledge the source or not, God will bring them joy and peace.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18, NIV)
Thanks for reading! God bless you!