Throwing Jesus Under The Bus When It Counts: What Will You Do When It’s Crunch Time?

Posted: January 31, 2015 in Uncategorized

Luke 9:22-27 — Today, we close out our look at Luke 9:22-27 by looking the final two verses in the passages (vv.26-27). This passage reminds me of my relationship with my brother when we were growing up. Growing up my brother was the classic geek. He was super-smart and completely, socially awkward. He was difficult to get along with as he had that super-intelligent arrogance about him. Ours was a rocky relationship all throughout our childhood and youth. Although I made really good grades in school myself, I was not and am still not as intelligent as my brother. If I made 5 A’s and 1 B. My brother would make straight A’s. However, I had the advantage of being more athletic than he and I was simply able to fit in with the crowd better. I was socially more adept than my brother. Even though we moved around a lot in those days as Methodist preacher’s kids, I was always able to immediately develop a network of friends quickly and become part of the social fabric of whatever school we attended. My brother was the opposite.

At every new town and new school to which we moved, my brother just made himself a target of ridicule with the way he had to lord his intelligence over others. I would compare him in those days to the Sheldon Cooper character on Big Bang Theory. It was easy to dislike him even with me being his own brother. The sad thing in all of this is that I, as the saying goes, “threw my brother under the bus” more times than I could count. I would join in the ridicule of him at times. Sometimes it was just simply a release of much pent up anger towards him. Other times, it was to just to fit in and avoid being ridiculed along with my brother. I was the social chameleon. My mom and dad would give me stern rebukes about joining in with the crowd when it came to my brother. They would say that no matter what he does or says, he is your brother. You are to defend him because he is your blood. My dad used to say that it did not matter if we fought within our house but outside our house, I needed to stand with my brother because he was family. This just added to the fuel of my dislike of my own brother. He would not make it easy to defend. As a matter of fact, his super-intellectual arrogance almost begged for ridicule. This was the state of our relationship until adulthood when we both left home. I am not proud of the way things went down between me and my brother over the years when we were growing up. I can see now the mistakes that I made in my relationship with my brother. My dad was right. I should have defended him regardless of how irritating he was to me in return. It does not matter that he would purposely make feel like the dumbest person alive with his venomous attacks on me daily. Real love defends in spite of past wrongs to us.

Today, our relationship is much better. We survived the gauntlet of American childhood and teen-dom. We don’t have a relationship like we are best friends even to this day. We are just such different people. However, we do respect each other now. Our relationship still shows the scars of a childhood of being verbally and emotionally brutal to one another. We will never be super-close like some siblings just because or personalities are so different. We do love each other though. I know that if I really needed my brother, he would be there in flash. He might talk my ears off but he would be there. We are family.

I use my relationship with my brother over those tumultuous childhood and teenage years as an illustration because I want to talk about denial. In public as a youth, when people would ridicule my brother in all his social awkwardness, I would join it. It was almost as though I was denying that he was my brother. I would join in the ridicule. I would deny the blood bond between. I would deny that the friends that I made in each town would be gone when we moved but my brother remained. I would deny that I knew him. I never wanted my relationship with my brother to cost me popularity among my friends. I didn’t want people to even know that I knew him at times.

This leads us straight to the final two verses of Luke 9:22-27. Jesus says, “if anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when He returns in His glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels. I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Kingdom of God.”

The point of the illustration and the point of the Scripture verses is that there will be a time when its crunch time and we have to make a choice and stand up against the tide. On rare occasions, after scoldings from my parents, I would stand up and defend my brother and yes it would cost me socially at school. There are times too that we must stand up and say that we know Jesus Christ even if we draw ridicule for it. What is more important? Knowing Jesus in eternity or denying that you know Him so that you do not stick out, so that you avoid ridicule, so that you fit in with the crowd. Do you go to church on Sunday and any other church activity like small group or go to Christian concerts and put your praise on and in the cocoon of Christian friends, they think you got it going on as Christian. Yet, at work, or with friends, you refuse to speak of Jesus. You refuse to speak of Scripture. You refuse to take a stand at work when you know something is morally wrong. You refuse to defend your faith when people ridicule Christianity. Do you throw Jesus under the bus when the pressure to fit in is on like I would throw my brother under the bus when it would cost me socially back in our school days. Will we have what it takes in the future days when the world has turned against Christianity completely to stand up and say I know Jesus!

Will we have the faith of Christians in North Korea? Will we have the faith of Christians in China? Will we have the faith of Christians in Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and any other nation where Christians are oppressed, jailed and killed? Will we have the faith of Pastor Saeed Abedini who suffers in jail because of his relationship with Jesus Christ that he refuses to deny. It would be easier to deny Jesus for Pastor Saeed but he has his eyes on the cross. He has his eyes on eternity. There is no way He has going to deny Jesus. He would rather die first. He who tries to save himself in this life will lose his life in eternity. Do you have that kind of faith? Do I have that kind of faith? We may have to some day stand up for Jesus where it will cost us access to social structures, where it will cost us our freedom, where it will cost us our life. Even if in this moment in time, it is not yet that way in the United States, we throw Jesus under the bus, deny Him, in small ways where we refuse to point out that we are Christians when it simply would be awkward for us to do so. Just think what we will be like when the pressure is really on – when our livelihood, our security, and even our life is on the line. Will you have what it takes to stand up for Him then, to say we know Him then?

Let us begin now to stand up for Jesus and let people know that we love Jesus. Let us begin now to start demonstrating that we know Him in every aspect of our lives. Let us share our faith with our friends, neighbors, and strangers. Let us stop being armchair Christians and let the world know that we love Jesus. Then, as we progress toward that day when Christianity is illegal, we will have the stamina of Pastor Saeed and be willing to risk it all to say that I know Jesus. I want Jesus to know me and not be ashamed of me when He returns in His glory or at my own death whichever comes first. I want Jesus to say that He knows me.

Just as my relationship with my brother had to change over the years where today I do not deny him today, let us change our relationship with Jesus from one of convenience to one of all out willingness to sacrifice everything for Him. With my brother, I do not throw my brother under the bus even though he still sometimes gets under my skin. I have grown to learn like my dad tried to impress upon me that blood matters, family matters. He is my brother and I will keep him. He is my blood and I love him no matter what even if I don’t always like him. Now, I would stand and defend my brother even if it meant my life. Can we be like that for Jesus? Can we stand up for Him when it counts, when it really, really matters? Can we stand up for Him when there is no gain but only pain?

I pray that you do! I pray that we all do!

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