Ashamed of Jesus Mark 8:34-38 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
As our country becomes increasingly afraid to mention the name of Jesus, don’t be ashamed of Jesus [Mk 8:38]. In many public places nativity scenes and references to the birth of Christ have been removed – in many businesses, employees say “Happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” because of the obvious reference to Christ. These changes and many more like them generally stem from laws that ignore the constitutional protection of the first amendment to the Constitution whereby Congress is prohibited from making a law prohibiting the free exercise of religion – they also stem from the fear of offending someone. All too often, Christians excuse themselves from mentioning the name of Jesus not because of the law or because they are afraid of offending someone but because they are ashamed of Jesus.
If you are not ashamed of Jesus, then:
Don’t be afraid to pray over your food in public – it is so refreshing to see men and women who are not ashamed of Jesus humbly bow their heads over their food before eating to thank the Lord for his provision – you don’t have to make a show of it – one zealous fellow, who was asked to pray for the meal in a restaurant, stood up and, after he got everyone’s attention, led the whole restaurant in prayer [and some gospel, too] – but you sure don’t want to refuse to pray because you are ashamed for anyone to see you – don’t pray what some have called a “sneeze prayer” [where you pray quickly while you pretend to be sneezing].
Don’t be afraid to stand up among his disciples – Nicodemus came to Jesus by night because he was afraid for anyone to see him with Jesus – he was a secret disciple [Jn 3:1-2; Jn 7:48-50; Jn 19:39] – the Lord doesn’t need any more secret disciples; we have plenty of those already – don’t be ashamed of Jesus among your school peer group – one teenage soccer player whom I coached came forward, right in front of his teammates, when I asked them if there were any among them who are Christians.
Don’t be afraid to witness to others about him – Paul said that he was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ [Rom 1:16] – the disciples in Acts were forbidden to preach in the name of Christ and yet they obeyed God – if you find it hard to be that bold then at least hand folks tracts – the poor folks in this world who don’t know Jesus aren’t going to find out about him unless we tell them – so don’t be ashamed of Jesus and his gospel.
Don’t be afraid to honestly testify of his goodness – when talking to others about what the Lord has done in your life, don’t leave the Lord out of his testimony – so often, you can be tempted, in the presence of people who don’t know the Lord, to talk about what the Lord has done for you without ever mentioning his name or giving him glory for what he did – the Lord has been good to you and it is helpful for others to know that the blessings in your life are not just the result of good fortune but rather the direct hand of God.
Don’t be afraid to quote his words – John the Baptist was not afraid to quote the words of God before Herod – of course, he eventually got his head cut off for this – nevertheless, Jesus said that in the kingdom of heaven there was none greater than John the Baptist – you need to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you,” [1 Pet 3:15] – and when you answer you need to “speak as the oracles of God,” [1 Pet 4:11] – because Isaiah said that “truth is fallen in the street,” [Is 59:14].
Don’t be afraid to take a beating for him – if it comes to that, then be willing to suffer for the name of Christ – after the disciples were beaten for preaching in the name of Christ, “they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name,” [Acts 5:41] – if and when this happens to us we “are partakers of Christ’s sufferings,” [1 Pet 4:13] – Peter said that is a cause for rejoicing.
Conclusion: there is pressure in the world to keep Jesus to yourself – however, he didn’t keep you to himself but suffered public humiliation and rejection for you – don’t be ashamed of Jesus – the least you and I can do is stand for him “in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation,” [Phil 2:15].