In a world that worships power, pleasure, possessions, beauty, intelligence, talent, and fame, I am continually struck by the profoundly counter-cultural nature of the Christian faith. Jesus reverses the field in almost every arena in which human beings naturally hope and long for.
Jesus got it wrong if He was trying to make everyone love and serve Him in an overwhelmingly impressive or subtly coercive sort of way. Instead, He quietly came to live in the Galilean backwater village of Nazareth and lose His perfect life on a simple wooden cross, so that we could gain his life and be reconciled to God. That is a love that breaks the mold of all our expectations and confounds the wise, the strong, the powerful, and the rich, so that even the fools, the weak, the insignificant, and the poor could actually inherent the earth and live forever.
In short, Jesus loves the unlovely, the unloving, and the unlovable. He makes the poor rich and the rich poor. He exalts the lowly and humbles the exalted. He makes the simple wise and makes simpletons of the wise. He makes the strong weak and the weak strong. He makes losers out of winners and winners out of losers. He asks His followers to lose everything in order to gain everything.
It doesn’t make for much of a marketing campaign to invite all who wish to follow Him to come suffer and die. That sounds more like a cult for masochists. But here is where the great irony of God’s economy in Christ comes into play: Those who suffer are blessed and will be comforted; those who die in Him will rise and live forever.
Of course, the opposite is also true: Those who are unrepentant and comfortable in this life will wind up uncomfortable in the next; those who hold tightly onto to things will lose them all; those who try to save their own life now will lose it for all eternity.
No, Jesus did not get it wrong, but we do—constantly. Instead of loving people and using things, we love things and use people. Instead of loving righteousness and spurning wickedness, we hate the good and love what is evil. Instead of giving thanks to God for His goodness and wisdom and patience, we ignore, defy, and spurn Him—and then blame and rage against Him when our lives fall apart.
Despite our magnificent insignificance, overweening pride, and astounding indifference toward the One who created and sustains us, He still loves us with an everlasting love. He patiently and persistently offers forgiveness, grace, and eternal life in Christ for all who will believe and trust in Him. He, and He alone, can take our every wrong and forever make us whole and right again.