Embarrassed by Jesus?
Here's why you shouldn't stay quiet about being a Christian.
It’s easy to be embarrassed about being a follower of Jesus.
Maybe you have a Christian group at school and you’re a little bit embarrassed so don’t turn up? Or maybe you’ve never filled out the ‘Religious Views’ bit on facebook?
It’s easy to understand that we are sometimes embarrassed, or even ashamed to follow Jesus: Jesus himself says that his followers will be hated on his account. What will help you to be unashamed to follow Jesus?
A long history of ridicule
At the centre of Christianity is the death of Jesus upon a cross. 2000 years ago, the cross was considered a pretty horrific symbol and so to say that you worship a Jewish guy who was crucified was considered foolish.
There’s an ancient graffiti sketch in Rome of an early Christian, Alexamenos, worshipping Jesus. The picture mockingly shows Jesus as half man/half donkey hanging on a cross. The ancient world looked on in ridicule at the death of Jesus upon a dirty piece of wood.
It’s into this type of context that Paul writes in Romans 1:15-16 that he is eager and unashamed to preach Jesus. What made it possible for Paul to have that type of attitude? Why was he unashamed when it was so easy to be ashamed?
The word ‘gospel’ means ‘good news’. In Romans 1, Paul understands that the gospel of Jesus really is good news.
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17 NIV)
Don't be ashamed of the Gospel
Paul wasn't ashamed of The Gospel, and here's why:
- It is the power of God... – although the cross of Jesus looks weak, the good news of the gospel is that at the cross God shows his power. At the cross, Jesus powerfully defeats sin, Satan and death. The message and word of Jesus is how God shows his power in this world.
- ...for the salvation of everyone who believes – the gospel of Jesus is so powerful that WHOEVER believes it will be saved by Jesus. The offer of God in the gospel is to be rescued from the judgement that we rightly deserve for our rebellion against God. Paul knows that everybody needs to hear about Jesus, and Paul knows that God wants to save people as that message goes out.
- ... and it reveals a righteousness from God – this term could mean a number of things, one of the meanings of this phrase in Romans is the right standing that people can have before God. It’s clear that all have sinned and are unable to make themselves righteous by obeying the law. God makes a righteousness available that is not about obeying the law, but about having faith. Faith and trust in Jesus, the one who – as he dies on the cross – takes upon himself what we deserve for our sin.
Paul knows that in the gospel of Jesus, we see the power of God, that saves all who believe, through faith in Jesus and the righteousness that he brings. This really is good news. He’s not ashamed of it.
Neither should we be embarrassed by Jesus! At home, school and on the internet when we’re tempted to be embarrassed about Jesus, we need to remember that the gospel is good news! We need Jesus, and all people need Jesus. So, don’t be ashamed to be a follower of Jesus.