Earlier this week on the Channel Ten show The Project, comedian Reuben Kaye made a crude joke about Jesus on air and the hosts laughed along.
In response, many Christians and Muslims took offence and demanded an apology. Waleed Aly and Sarah Harris have issued a formal apology following backlash from the incident.
As Christians, there is a temptation to retaliate. To let those involved know how much offence and hurt they have caused. They were, after all insulting the One Who is most precious to us. As I watched the video, I wrestled with this temptation.
Some have raised their concerns about the fact that The Project is on at a time when families are gathered in front of the TV and little ears shouldn’t be exposed to crude jokes such as the one that was made, which I wholeheartedly agree with.
Now, returning to the response that we should take. As I reflect on the journey of Jesus to the cross, I see a man who did not retaliate.
I see a man who took no offence. A man who prayed for the ones spitting on Him and hurling insults. A man who knew His own innocence and yet did not defend Himself. In the face of false accusation, He remained silent.
Jesus, in a moment of excruciating pain, gazing over at the Roman soldiers, the Jewish leaders and perhaps even His disciples in the distance, utters the words, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
What amazing self-restraint and grace lies behind these words.
In a world that is becoming increasingly hostile towards Christians, we must reflect carefully on Jesus’s response to those from whom He faced hostility.
We have the opportunity to show the grace and love of Jesus to the very people who mock us; and we should, in fact, expect this hostility. In Jesus’ words, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you.”
The human heart longs to experience true, unconditional love.
This love is exemplified in Jesus hanging on the cross, in our place, for the wrongs we have committed. The joke that was made referenced this very moment.
In an interesting twist, the very joke that was meant to mock the God I love, only brings more glory to Him. Because you see, the God Who has been mocked from the time He walked on this earth to this present moment knew that all humans would fail.
Fail to see Him as he is. Fail to worship Him as He deserves. And He still chose to be nailed to the cross.
Let us strive to exemplify this same level of love and grace to others, in the face of being misunderstood, falsely accused and ridiculed. Let us reflect our Saviour to a world that needs to experience a love that reaches beyond human understanding.
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