In all the themes of change and reaching this generation, it is easy to get focused on all the necessary means of reaching younger people. This is very good in many respects. Each iteration of life has to find its identity. Each generation growing older has to make adjustments to stay current and not just become “old fuddy-duddies.” There are challenges for all age spectrums. The younger with zeal, creativity, and innovation must reach the generations that preceded them and relate. The in-betweens, usually the parents of the upcoming generation, are suspended between their children and their parents. Everybody has a job to do in order to relate to one another. Institutions have to adapt, change, re-emerge.
Business recognizes this. McDonald’s is always tearing down and remodeling sites. The menu is constantly adapting to current food fads. Major restaurants are constantly changing interior designs. Menus change with the seasons and trends. Church, on the other hand, usually resists change. People leave when change comes. When churches do not change, people leave. It is frustrating to say the least.
However, there has to be one constant…Jesus. In all the flurry of modernity, there still remains a rugged cross. There remains a body torn and bleeding. There remains a sacrifice so significant that it changed eternity, forever.
There is no sprucing up the crucifixion. There is no way to sell it as something less than brutality. There is no dressing it up to make it palatable for sensitive stomachs. It is the human-divine sacrifice. We dress up sin, we make unrighteousness comfortable and palatable. We excuse indiscretion. We willingly apply grace without understanding the price for it.
It is an old, old story that cannot be modernized. The transition from an old covenant that sacrificed animals to a new covenant that sacrificed the Son of God is phenomenal. It is an account of brutality, hatred, meanness, and revenge. And Jesus endured all of it. The treatment he received was worse than any animal sacrifice. If it were not for the resurrection, it would have been the discarding of a human as a piece of trash. Yet, the resurrection ratified the new covenant because the maker of that covenant died and instituted it and then came to life once again, victorious, making an open show of his victory over death and the enemy.
All that we do is to reach people so they might encounter the one who paid the price for them. It is not about making them a Christian; it is about making them face the Christ head on. Encounter the person, not a religion. You can dress up Christianity, but you cannot dress up the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
An encounter with Jesus is life shattering. You cannot be the same anymore. You are broken by the sin and corruption of your own heart. He comes in the brokenness and gives life. The life that he paid for through the most horrifying hours of pain and suffering. You can’t change that!