I was on the way to a meeting after work this evening in a car with a couple of my colleagues.
Conversation somehow got turned to discussion of whether Jesus was a real person in history. Consensus was that he was, you'll be pleased to hear. I think it was on the back of conversation about how prayer is just an illustration of the power of positive thinking. (I think there's more to it than that, somehow...) However, what was alarming was how easily and apathetically they switched back and forth between whether Jesus is real compared to if Father Christmas is real.
How did it come to pass that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, that God the Son, the one who blamelessly gave his life and suffered the wrath of the Father in the most shameful, painful way could become such an object of ridicule? How could he be compared to Father Christmas?
I didn't react to this at the time. And thinking about it, I don't think in this situation it would have really been appropriate to react. They were only joking, but on reflection I've realised just how offensive and wrong it is to even joke about it. It should make me feel sick with grief and perhaps even anger that my Saviour should be thought about in such an irreverant way. It's not always appropriate to show this reaction, but it is right to feel it, and remember who this is! Jesus, who:
" ...being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father."