It was the day of a big football game and all the frat houses on campus there in Nashville were having game-day parties. Two Christians showed up looking for a place to “share the Gospel.” I’m not sure how they would call what they did as sharing good news, but I don’t typically consider driving around the neighborhood yelling at the kids with a megaphone from their car that they are immodest and drunkards is really the best way to reach, let alone convert college students.
Here is a multiple choice question: If Jesus had been in Nashville that day would he most likely be…
A) Cruising in a car with the megaphone to his lips?
B) On the sidewalks in front of the frat houses condemning the underclassmen?
C) At the pre-game party getting his face painted black and gold like a Vanderbilt Commodore?
D) Painting a “Jesus Saves” sign to hold up in the end zone crowd when the ESPN cameras pan his way after a touchdown.
Well, the “D” answer kind of makes me laugh, but I tend to think of Jesus hanging out with the crowd and engaging with them so I think the closest answer is “C.” Before you go judgmental on me consider Jesus’ own words, “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’”
In context Jesus is comparing his lifestyle with his cousin’s, John the Baptist, who had a strange diet of grasshoppers and raw honey. The Pharisees said that John acted too weird to be godly and that he must have been demonized. But in Jesus case they didn’t think he was disciplined enough, thus the accusations. Pharisees are never satisfied with anyone’s behavior except for their own.
Jesus doesn’t deny that he likes food, drinks wine, and hangs out with people that don’t have the best reputation. In fact if you look at the Luke chapter 7, where this charge is leveled, you will see that Jesus interacted (kindly) with those who were racially different (verses 1-10), economically challenged (11-17), religiously opposed (24-35), and morally lacking (36-50). Yes, Jesus lived his life in such a way that you would have a good argument in a court of law stating that Jesus made friends with the bankrupt and the partiers.
This last example is the one that catches my heart. Jesus lived his life as so approachable that a woman with a bad reputation pushed past the shame of the religious community to cry in his presence —actually uncontrollably at his feet. She didn’t need preached at with a megaphone to recognize that Jesus offered her something different than the religious crowd.
Maybe it’s time for us to set down our megaphones and our judgments and start really caring about the people who we want to see Jesus.
Or I guess you could be like these two.