Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. – Luke 14:25-26
At the height of His public ministry, Jesus was very popular. Multitudes would come to hear Him speak, teach, feed, and heal. Amid such clamor and adulation, when most leaders would have relished the fame, Jesus began instead to turn people away. Why did they leave?
Quite simply, Jesus began to emphasize the cost and the challenge that being His follower would require. He never aimed to be popular, only to see His Father praised, and any person who presents a “popular” version of Christ will miss the path that brings God the greatest glory. Our Father does not need man’s acceptance, nor does He desire it. He demands His creation’s worship instead.
We should always be wary of a popular Christ and a Christianity that demands it.
I never saw, heard, nor read, that the clergy were beloved in any nation where Christianity was the religion of the country. Nothing can render them popular, but some degree of persecution. – Jonathan Swift
Dr. David Pope is President and Founder of POPE Initiatives, a non-profit organization committed to providing executive-level management and support services for major global mission efforts.
View all posts by Dr. David Pope