If Christ Came Back Today, Would We Believe?
In my last post, I mentioned one television show I’m looking forward to focuses on what would happen if Christ came back today.
The show Messiah will explore what would happen if Christ came back in the present day. At least, we think it’s Christ. Some will believe this strange character is the Second Coming, and others won’t.
If Christ came back for real in 2020, how willing would you be to accept it?
I suspect many of us wouldn’t want to believe. It’s too easy these days to stay cynical, to doubt everything. Our society looks for talking points to defeat an argument before we even ponder its worth.
This year, my work schedule allowed me to attend a Christmas Eve service for the first time in a while. The message focused on what would happen if a man claiming to be Christ suddenly showed up.
If it’s the same Jesus Christ of the Bible, with the same “socioeconomic markers,” I doubt many would be willing to follow this character.
Five marks against Him
Pastor Collin Kerr laid out five potential problems the Jesus of the Bible had back then:
- In an economy where bribery could get you anywhere, Jesus was poor.
- In an Honor-Shame culture, Jesus was born to an unwed mother.
- Inside a country occupied by Roman legions, Jesus was a non-citizen of that empire.
- In a culture dominated by Greco-Romanism, Jesus was an ethnic minority.
- And when King Herod tried to kill him as an infant Jesus became a refugee.
Back then, he had many things going against Him, yet He made an impact still felt today.
But consider those five marks against him in today’s society.
If a man with these qualities appeared claiming to be the Messiah, would we accept him? Can you imagine how quickly social media would light up with people blasting this guy, trying to expose him as a fraud?
Add to that Christ’s ability to challenge all of our beliefs, no matter how “Christian-like” we think we are.
Would we accept Him?
I don’t think so. I don’t think we’d listen to a word this poor, non-citizen, minority refugee would have to say.
We already see this kind of behavior.
The Progressive Christian movement seeks to challenge old, sometimes outmoded, sometimes inaccurate values held in churches.
The church community takes delight in labeling these folks “heretics.” You can’t say they disagree with what’s being said. They don’t take time to consider what’s being said. Someone taking a differing view of faith is itself is enough to toss out the idea.
They accuse the people pushing these different ideas as evil. They accuse them of wanting to be the “star” rather than Christ Himself.
Kerr pointed out people in Jesus’s time were just as opinionated back then as we are today. The difference is those people didn’t have Facebook and Twitter to broadcast their opinions to the world.
Now imagine someone who comes forward to claim he actually is Christ Himself.
I can’t imagine that would go well these days.
We don’t like our ideas challenged.
It’s easy to understand why this attitude exists. After all, we hold our beliefs — especially our religious beliefs — as deeply personal. A challenge to those beliefs feels like an attack. So we recoil. We bristle. And we look for ways to immediately discredit and defeat the attacker.
That’s so much easier than stopping to think about the criticism.
We don’t seem to have the ability as a culture anymore to pause long enough to ask, “What if I’m wrong?”
It’s so much easier to assume the other guy is always wrong.
And Jesus Christ knew how to rile up those opinions.
“Where people had ethnic animosity, Jesus demonstrated acceptance of people of other ethnicities. Where people had religious animosity, Jesus demonstrated that God loved people of other religions,” Kerr said. “And where the oppressors ruled the oppressed and the oppressed wanted to kill the oppressors, Jesus said that we should stand up for the oppressed.
But then we should also love our oppressors.”
For all of those “strongly-held opinions” that conservative Christians have these days, Christ would likely turn them all on their ears.
I can’t imagine that would go well, either.
So maybe we could all take a moment at some point in 2020 and consider the simple question: “What if we’re the ones who are wrong?”
And maybe we could then ask the bigger question: “If Christ did come back for real this year, would we believe?” Would we accept? Or would we look for ways to disprove everything we heard?