It’s Good Friday. This has always struck me as a really dumb name for this day. Christ was betrayed and crucified.
Yes, I’m fully aware that His death was a necessary component of the Gospel. Got it.
But this is the rejection of the Son of God, the Creator and Sustainer of all life. He came to His own and His own received Him not. This is heart breaking.
Our Christianity focuses way too much on the positive. I know the Gospel is “Good News.” Got it. But before the Good News comes the Bad News.
In all our discussing of the Gospel, never forget to emphasize just how awful we are. We killed the Lord of Glory.
People do not like God. They do not like anything that God likes. What man esteems is an abomination in the sight of God. We’re on completely different pages.
If you are approaching pastoral ministry thinking, “If I preach the Word, if I emphasize Christ, my church will grow.” You’re in for a surprise.
The more you emphasize Christ and the Gospel and His Word, the more you will be rejected, despised, lonely, and feeling a lot like one of the prophets.
This is not some kind of justification from a pastor of a small church who envies large churches either. This is facts. There are, no doubt, exceptions, and yes, I’m sure you’re one of them.
There are many reasons why churches are small. The smallness of your church does not mean you’re emphasizing Christ. Many churches that are small should be small.
This does not necessarily mean that a big church isn’t emphasizing Christ. I’m inclined to lean in that direction because broad is the road to destruction and strait is the gate to life, but it may not be true in all cases.
My point is this: if you are truly representing Christ (not your doctrinal camp, your church tradition, your celebrity hipness) and truly preaching His Gospel, people will not like you. They didn’t like Jesus. They killed Him. If you preach the light of truth, don’t be shocked when men who love darkness, flee.
People do not want to follow Christ. They want to follow what they think following the Christ of their head would be, but they don’t want Christ. Few there be who are saved.
Good Friday is a massive fail. I know it was part of the plan before the foundation of the world, got it. But listen to the words of Peter on Pentecost railing on them for having killed their Messiah.
People have a track record of stubborn rebellion and disobedience. You think you and your cute little “community engagement” plans are going to reverse this trend? If only Jesus knew our church growth strategies, things could have been so different!
You represent Jesus Christ, a man who every person was born hating.
Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Preach Him. Preach His Word, in season and out. Never stop doing this. Like Paul, encourage them to maintain good works that they be not unfruitful. Preach the doctrines of heaven and hell and judgment. Without this, the Gospel, the sacrifice of Christ, makes no sense. Preach the Word.
And don’t be shocked when people leave.