Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Popularity, Jesus and the Beatles

In a TV trivia question this morning I heard about the infamous statement made by John Lennon back in 1966 regarding the popularity of the Beatles. He stated during an interview that the Beatles were "more popular than Jesus." Of course, this caused a huge furor in America, resulting in anti-Beatles rallies complete with smashing of their records. It seems that John had gone over the top with this remark, and even today other members of the Beatles like Paul McCartney are still somewhat apologizing for it.

But this whole concept of popularity and Jesus Christ got me thinking. Just how popular is Jesus? How many Jesus fans are there out there, screaming for Him and expressing how much they like Him? The answer to that is, it depends on which Jesus we're talking about.

To be sure, the cultural Jesus is very popular. The Jesus that's pictured as the meek and mild guy carrying a lamb around and all the children coming to sit on his lap. The Jesus that tells us to be kind to one another and not to judge. The Jesus who we can get a plastic version of and stick on our dashboard, the Jesus who we can pray to and get whatever we want. This cultural, iconic Jesus is the greatest commodity ever found. Who wouldn't like this Jesus?

But what about the real Jesus Christ? You know, the one we read about in the Bible? And I mean the whole Bible, not just those cutesy passages that are "popular." The Jesus who says that unless a person is born again they can't even see the kingdom of God. The Jesus who says shortly after that statement that the person who does not believe in Him is the resting place of God's wrath on their sin. The Jesus who said that He didn't come to bring peace to the earth, but rather a sword. The Jesus who says that to follow Him we must die. The really scary Jesus who reveals Himself as the conquering King in the Revelation. Just how "popular" is this real, true, Biblical Jesus? The sad truth is, not so much.

In fact, I think trying to apply the category of "popular" to the real Jesus Christ doesn't even make sense. The Christ is not concerned at all with His popularity, His fan base or the latest opinion ratings survey. He is the sovereign Lord of the universe, and He presents Himself as He really is. He is the self-existent One who doesn't need our fawning or infatuation with Him. It's only the fake, make-up-your-own-Jesus that has to deal with competing for popularity with the likes of John, Paul, George and Ringo.


Les Prouty said...

Phil, very on spot post. Lennon who?

Seriously, popularity never was on Jesus' agenda and shouldn't be on ours.

I really like your blog. Good stuff. Found it via the Irish guy.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Les. Appreciate the encouragement!