Luke 23:18 But the whole crowd shouted, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!”
“Popularity should be no scale for the election of politicians. If it would depend on popularity, Donald Duck and The Muppets would take seats in Senate.”
– Orson Welles
I have often thought that what is popular, fashionable, or currently cool is not necessarily right, moral, or even Christian. I struggle with this constantly, because I am bombarded with societal standards and cultural expectations from my family, friends, peers, and even church members. I’m probably considered to be old-fashioned, anachronistic, and archaic (even using those words defines how outdated I am). Because I wrestle with this, the message that I write or proclaim is tarnished with the same misperception of being antiquated.
However, I would rather embrace an old-fashioned religion than be besieged by a culture enraptured with the shallowness of celebrity. I would rather hold on to an archaic Gospel than succumb to a diluted message that has no depth. I would rather hold out for a Bible worth reading, studying, and applying, more than a thousand best-sellers that add little quality to my life. Like everyone else, I only have a short time on Earth compared to the eons of eternity. Like some, I would rather seek peace with God and be embraced by Christ, rather than waste my life on spiritual superficiality.
When the mob in Jerusalem had the opportunity to choose Jesus, who was standing in front of them, they rejected Him and chose Barabbas. They just did what the world has always done: they made a secular, popular choice, and ended up with the wrong person. They could have chosen Christ and have been blessed by His continued teaching; instead they shouted for a killer, becoming killers themselves by abandoning Jesus.
This week, we will all be given opportunities to do what is right, as opposed to what is convenient or popular. We’ll be challenged by the Spirit of Christ to follow His ways, or to wander down the path of apparent popularity. We’ll either end up marching to the banal tune of a cultural pied piper, or we’ll be singing songs of salvation about our Savior. As always, the choice is ours. It may not be popular, agreeable, or acceptable to even write this, but to paraphrase Orson Welles, if our faith depended upon popularity, then we would worship Donald Duck or the Muppets, instead of a Crucified King and rejected Lord.
Question to ponder
How much culture influences my Christianity?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we try to follow You but often end up getting distracted by our own preferences and choices. Help us to find the path that You want us to travel on. Give us the courage to make better choices, so that we may serve and worship You. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment or ask questions about today’s message, please send him an email to Traqair@aol.com. John is always interested in your thoughts. And, if you ever find yourself in Knoxville on a Sunday morning, the people at Erin will make you feel welcome and will be delighted to worship with you.
Today’s image is John’s latest Celtic Cross drawing called “Son Light.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click on this link: Cross.