In my book What’s So Confusing About Grace? I devote a chapter to discussing the role that fear played in my journey as a young Christian. In particular, if you were ashamed of Jesus, he would be ashamed of you on the day of judgment. Translation: when God the Father asks, “Jesus, do you know this kid?” he would blush and remain silent, and you’d be sent to hell, kicking and screaming.

One of the significant catalysts for that fear came courtesy of the 1984 low budget Christian film Never Ashamed. I watched it one week at youth group. And while I left that night buoyed up and confident, determined that I’d prove my mettle by boldly proclaiming Jesus, it wasn’t long before I was wracked with fear from both sides. On the one side, the fear of my peers mocking and dismissing my witness, and on the other side the fear of Jesus, turning his head and remaining silent on that pivotal day of judgment.

Just watch how the film begins and you’ll be able to see where I’m coming from:

2 thoughts on “Ashamed of Jesus? Go to hell

    1. Mark 8:38: “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

      I think often we fall into a trap when reading the Bible of treating a statement like this as a decontextualized, timeless maxim, something like the law of gravity. Unfortunately, this fails to heed the context in which the statement was uttered, the audience the speaker was addressing, and ultimately the point he was trying to make.

      In this case, Jesus has just been speaking of his Gospel as a way of suffering and Peter — who ironically enough just made a bold messianic declaration — opposes Jesus’ words. So I take Jesus’ point to be simply this: “if you want to follow me, you need to take up your cross.”

      So all my angst about never being ashamed to do street evangelism or Jesus really would be ashamed of me on Judgment Day kind of missed the point. He is simply encouraging us to embrace the way of suffering as his disciples.


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