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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

May 27, 2016

Jesus' Facebook friends

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

Most members are familiar with the social network Facebook, and some are active Facebook members, having even Facebook friends among their church brethren.

Those on Facebook know how you become Facebook friends with other: By sending a friend request to someone or responding to a request. Facebook friends see their friends profiles and friend lists.

On occasion a Facebook request goes unanswered. Why does that happen? Sometimes the person making the request is unknown to the recipient. And, as some have confided to me, a request can remain unanswered because one does not want to be publicly associated with the person making the request, because that person has a problem. "Yes, I know him, but he has an alcohol problem", which translates as: "He can't control himself." Or: "She can't seem to keep a job", which means: "With that track record she must not be easy to get along with."

At times we tend to label people that way, making it easier for us to justify our distance from them. We avoid involvement with them, because difficult people usually require time and effort.

If Jesus were on Facebook, what would His friend list look like? He would have quite a few friends whose requests would have been ignored by most everyone else. Anyone looking at His friend list would have seen a woman caught in the act of adultery. And a sinful woman (a euphemism for a prostitute) who washed His feet with her tears of repentance. There would be a former tax collector, now part of Jesus' "inner circle". A healed leper and a foreign women would be in His list, and many others. And in Jesus' profile you would see photos of meals and feasts that Jesus attended. Someone looking at Jesus' friend list and profile might have exclaimed: "Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!" (Matthew 11:19).

While Jesus wasn't out to maintain distance to such people, neither did He accept or tolerate sinful behaviour. Anyone looking at the Facebook page of the woman caught in adultery would have seen Jesus' comment on her wall: "Go and sin no more!" With this approach, Jesus was quite willing to deal with difficult people – sinners.

After all, we should know that, because He accepted our friend request in the name of His Father.

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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