"unChristian" - Mark 8:27-38
Yesterday, I received a call from a gentleman who began the conversation with, “I want to talk to someone about being saved.” As most of my phone conversations don’t normally begin this way, I was taken aback, to say the least. I was a bit skeptical. Immediately, I got the feeling that he really didn’t want to talk about being saved or being a Christian. What he really wanted was to discredit me as a pastor, Christians in general, and the need for Christ.
This older gentleman only identified himself as retired Air Force personnel who was familiar with the Bible, pastors, and Christians. Oh, and the fact that he had a lot of money. It did not take me long to realize he was operating with a very different understanding of Christianity than my own. In a very real sense, we had fundamentally different answers to Jesus’ question, “But who do you say that I am?”
He went on to say that he wanted to be saved so he could be a Christian. By his understanding, being a Christian meant being judgmental, selfish, a liar and a thief, hypocritical, and a simply nasty person. He was operating with a very unChristian understanding of Christianity. For whatever reason, he was angry, hurt, and in need of healing. He told me exactly what pastors were… “con artists only after your money.” He was so convinced of that fact that when I asked him if I could pray for him, he said, “Just a minute, Pastor. Let me get my checkbook, or my credit card number. That’s what you really want, right.” Unfortunately, there was nothing I could say that would convince him otherwise. So, I did what I had to. I took his credit card information and…OF COURSE NOT! Just making sure you were paying attention. No, I told him to stop reading his credit card information or I would hang up. He didn’t stop, so I hung up.
This made me reflect on Jesus’ question, “But who do you say that I am?” In reading Mark 8:27-38, it becomes very clear who Jesus is and who he is not. Further, in verse 38, are we ashamed of Jesus or what it means to be a follower of Jesus? People answer these questions in very different ways. Unfortunately, some have been hurt or taken advantage of by people who claim to be Christian. Our actions speak so much louder than our proclamations.
However, it’s not to late to help redefine and reclaim what is means to be Christian so that it more closely resembles the life of Jesus Christ. Obviously, we have our work cut out for us. But, we are not alone in this endeavor. We have the power and presence of the Holy Spirit leading and guiding us. We can redefine and reclaim what it means to be Christian! So, let us answer Jesus’ question of “But who do you say that I am” with our very lives. Let us not be ashamed of Jesus or what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Let us show others who Jesus is by being authentic and Christ-like. Let us cling to the power and promises of what it truly means to be Christian!