For whoever is ashamed [here and now] of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
Jesus’ harsh warning is hard for us to hear. It’s difficult to imagine our being ashamed of Christ. It’s like a freed prisoner being ashamed of his rescuer, who risked his life to free him. But many of us are reluctant to speak up for Christ when we have the opportunity. How can that be?
At one point, Jesus told the religious leaders that their faith was weak because they “loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God (John 12:40). That’s the heart of the matter. When a flesh-and-blood person is standing in front of us, it’s easy to rationalize and make excuses for being silent. Suddenly, we can think of lots of reasons we need to be quiet! But if Jesus was standing there and we had to choose between the two, we’d probably speak out for Him much more often.
The truth is that He is standing there. He is present in every conversation and in every place and moment. If we take a minute and reflect on what He has done for us, our boldness will return. We were lost, but He found us. We wandered in darkness, but He is our light. We were doomed to eternal condemnation, but He has given us eternal life. We were prisoners without hope, but He set us free.
Think about these things often, and when the moment of decision arrives, be certain that He is right beside you cheering you on. Don’t let Him down.
You do not have to be a theologian or a Bible scholar to share your faith and teach a class of small children. If we wait until we know everything before we start sharing, we will never share because no one knows all the mysteries of God.
When we hear Jesus’ words about being ashamed of Him, most Christians would say that they aren’t in that category. They would say if someone asked, they would acknowledge that they follow Christ. Most of us feel that we would never be like Peter and deny Christ, or like Judas and betray Him. We would like to think that when the chips were down we would stand with Jesus and not run away as the disciples did on the night they came to arrest Him. I’m sure that most Christians would be offended if someone would accuse them of being ashamed of Christ. They would say that their friends and acquaintances know that they attend church and practice Christian values.
So what was Jesus getting at when He talked about people being ashamed of Him in the presence of other humans. What I’m about to say will sound radical and fanatical for some of us. You see there is a vast difference between going to a building on Sunday morning and gathering with those of like faith and expressing our love for Christ, but it’s a radically different thing to live the Christian life openly, unapologetically, and unashamed. It’s not so much that we hide our relationship with Christ, we just try to blend in with our surroundings. We want to fit in, be one of the group, act “normal” and frankly most of us want to find that perfect balance between being Christian enough to get to heaven and earthly enough to be accepted.
But God is radical in His love for us. He could have stayed safely in heaven, surrounded by the angels, enjoying the worship and adoration from the hosts of heaven. But instead He chose to become one of us. He took incredible risks in His associations. He could have came and hung out with the religious and the socially correct, but instead He sat at a public well with a notorious woman unafraid of ruining His reputation. He went home with a unpopular tax collector and shared a meal together to the shock of the community. And the stories go on and on. Nothing, though, compares to the ultimate act of love when this holy God took upon Himself the sins of the whole world including mine and yours. The songwriter said it this way: “He could have called ten thousand angels, but He died alone on Calvary.” Beaten, stripped naked, crucified on a public cross for all to see, Christ stood with us and for us. You see He wasn’t ashamed of us privately or publicly.
So let’s talk about you and me. Often we are afraid of the dark, but the sun isn’t and neither should the sons and daughters of God. Every day the sun meets darkness and though darkness can be intimidating, the sun has been given by its Creator the power to dispel darkness. We don’t have to be intimidated by the darkness because the Son has given us power to overcome the darkness in this world.
Oh dear child of God, don’t let the devil, the world, or others intimidate you and your faith. If you’re like me and God has rescued you from a life of sin and bondage; if you know that He has given you His name as an adopted child; if you know His love and have received His grace and mercy; then shake off the fear and let your love for Him overcome anything that silences your voice. Maybe you’re ashamed of what you’ve been and done. Maybe you don’t have a lot to be proud of. Maybe you have a lot to overcome but remember there’s One who stands beside you who daily who is never ashamed to acknowledge you as His child, even on your worst day.
I pray that all over the world Christ followers will become so deeply in love with Christ that we’ll shout it from the housetops and in the streets and at every opportunity to everyone we meet.
It’s time for a radical reformation among Christians who will boldly proclaim Christ. I’m not talking about being obnoxious, religious, know-it-all, self-righteous people. I’m talking about becoming so radically transformed by the love of Christ that we become more fanatical than the most rabid football player whose dream is to win the Super Bowl. So how about it? Can we fall in love with this amazing God so deeply that He pervades every part of our lives so strong that He oozes out of our pores, comes up in every conversation and influences us so powerfully that we only live to glorify and exalt Him every chance we get?
One of the things that makes my heart glad is when my children or grandchildren introduce me to their friends. Especially with my grandchildren, I’m aware that this old guy may not fit in. But that doesn’t stop them from wanting their friends to know me. We have such a great relationship that they want their friends to know their papa like they know him. I’m sure there are times when I could be an embarrassment to them and perhaps times that my being a pastor might be a hindrance, but my love for them and their love for me overrides it all. That’s what Jesus is getting at: our relationship with God is so awesome that we want everybody else to know this incredible God, so we make the introduction.
Dr. John Thompson