The great philosopher John Lennon once remarked in the mid-sixties, that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus.” Christians took great offense at his statement and the Beatles’ albums were burned and smashed to pieces. It was an inflammatory statement, but the truth is, Lennon was probably right. In the fifty years since, he has been proved right with any celebrity, sports star, or politician you want to name. Even in the church, Jesus is not the most popular figure, at least not the Jesus of the Bible. There are variations of Jesus – the political Jesus, the social justice Jesus (he seems to be the one most folks like), the wise teacher Jesus, the stick-it-to-the-establishment Jesus, the anything-goes Jesus, and on and on. But they are not the Jesus we see in Scripture.
Not that we can put Him in a clearly defined box. The Jesus of the Bible is at the same time humble and exalted. He is gentle and fierce. He is gracious and confrontational. He accepted women with bad reputations and chastened the religious leaders who are lauded for their (self)righteousness. He is unpredictable and yet He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He was popular – until He wasn’t. The same crowd that greeted Him as Messiah later shouted for His crucifixion. Throughout human history far more have rejected Him than accepted Him. He may be worshiped in small bands but He is scorned in the public square. But one day . . .
The Bible says that Jesus will come again, splitting the sky and riding the clouds like a wave. And every eye will see Him. Every person will know exactly who He is. Because God has exalted Him to the highest place and given Him the name that is above every name. One day, that name will ring out across the universe, and then “every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11). Every knee. Every tongue. From the most devout believer to the most spiteful atheist.
Yes, that means you too. You will bow and you will confess. The only question is, will it be an act of delight that you have practiced often, or will it be one of shock and horror, when you realize Whom you rejected? The choice is yours now, Beloved. Have you, will you believe in the real Jesus?