The picture to the left, Alexamenos Graffito, is an enhanced image of an image that most likely dates to the early third century of Christianity. The inscription says “Alexmenos worships his God.” The picture was intended to mock Christian worship.
The image is of an ass hanging on the cross. That’s right, an ass! Ordinarily I would just say this is a donkey but I am intentionally using the more offensive language to help illustrate how utterly absurd believing in Jesus was back then seemed to non-believers. Jesus wasn’t hip and the cross a beautiful piece of jewelry to wear as a necklace. To believe in Jesus and confess him as Lord meant following someone that was regarded as foolish in the eyes of the Gentiles (cf. 1 Cor 1:23).
The story of Jesus is not something that people would make up if they wanted to create another religion. Not only was following considered stupid but it also meant facing persecution at times. Yet people believed came to believe in Jesus and followed him, confessing him as the Lord. These believers, the church, convinced others by their witness to also believe in Jesus and join them in their witness. They did that by becoming fools for Christ (cf. 1 Cor 4:10), living with an unyielding allegiance to Jesus Christ.
So here we are, five days from Easter. The year is 2013 and America is a post-Christian culture. How do we convince our neighbors that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true? In a culture where there are many religious options for consumers of spirituality, I am guessing that we too must become fools for Christ, living with an unyielding allegiance to Jesus Christ.
Can we do that? Perhaps that’s the most important question to ask as we approach Easter. And it matters. It’s the difference between whether Jesus is our Lord or Christianity is just merely a religious good we consume on Easter and a few other Sunday’s throughout the year.