For all the emergent types, for all the people trying their best to get on the already overcrowded relevance bandwagon, for all the well-meaning hipsters in favor of an over adaptation to a certain culture, I’ve got news for you…Jesus didn’t strive for cultural relevance.
I know that Paul talked about all things to all men.
That’s not really what I’m talking about. I’m talking about a watering down.
I’m talking about softening and thereby blunting the sword of the Spirit.
Jesus said what he meant, and if people didn’t understand he explained himself. Sometimes.
Sometimes he didn’t.
Plenty of times he just spoke in parables and then explained the lesson privately because even his own disciples couldn’t pick up what he was putting down, and he had every right to do that.
He told the murmuring Jews that they had to eat his flesh and drink his blood or they would die?
That right there is tough. Does that make sense to anybody?
Specifically, John 6:60 says, “…this is an hard saying; who can heart?”
After that a bunch of people just threw up their hands and said forget it. Cannibalism? Really?
Don’t miss this: Jesus was more worried about purity than he was about pertinence.|Tweet This|
That is, in his own way, he communicated truth and trusted in that truth, rather than his ability to convey that truth so that people would find it inoffensive. So that people would find it attractive.
No excellency of speech. No human wisdom. Gospel truth.
The super-religious, live-by-the-letter Nicodemus went to talk to Jesus one night, and (interestingly enough) spoke for the entire group of religious leaders, the Pharisees.
We know that God sent you, because nobody can do the miracles that you’re doing, unless God is with him.
Jesus didn’t blush. He didn’t say thank you. He didn’t tweet the compliment. He didn’t try to get on Nicodemus’s level. No, he said something completely weird. I mean no irreverence at all when I say that, but think about it…
You need to be born again.
Never had that metaphor been used before. There was nothing inherent in the Jewish culture that lent itself to the idea of a new birth meaning what it means today. Jesus coined the phrase. He made it up.
And when he did, Nicodemus went…
What? Huh? Is that even possible?
So much for using the cool kids’ street terms.
Jesus didn’t care about being relevant to others, he knew that the gospel itself dictated true, spiritual relevance. He led. He blazed his own trails instead of following the fickle fads of that day.
Truth is timeless. Cultures adapt to it. We don’t need to try to put a square peg in a round hole. |Tweet This|
Let the power of the gospel and the Holy Spirit do the heavy lifting.
Preach the truth, even if it sounds weird…as long as it’s straight. As long as it’s sound.
Be a teacher, an educator, an evangelist. Don’t be an imitation. Don’t be a second-rate facsimile of someone else.
Be yourself. Be humble. Be sensitive to others’ needs. The relevance will take care of itself.