We love the shrewdness and wit of Jesus. There’s a fist somewhere inside that pumps whenever we read the parts of the Gospels where the religious leaders are left unable “to answer him a word,” or when no one “dared to ask him any more questions.”
And that’s why some of us blog. We love the feel of silencing our foes. Paul’s use of “emasculating” irony in Galatians 5 gives us every justification for sarcasm. Oh, we bloggers love sarcasm; this literary tool allows us to assume our opponents’ position, only to take it all the way to its foolish end without ever having to explicitly call them a fool.
Of course, the best of Christian public intellectuals carried this same shrewd sarcasm. C. S. Lewis and G. K. Chesterton are excellent examples, and we often follow in their lead, showing others just how exasperating their logic can be. That’s been our self-appointed task, too, ever since we registered for [insert name here].blogspot.com.
The problem is that we tend not to follow Lewis and Chesterton all the way. In other words, we adopt their sarcasm and wit but not the spirituality of their aims. They guided readers toward the place where wisdom could be found, introducing them to a kingdom that stands on firmer ground. We thrive on exposing the fool. We hold the doctrine of J. Gresham Machen but carry the tone of H. L. Mencken.
Blogging Like Jesus
It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that our opponents don’t see us in the same light as Lewis and Chesterton, or associate us with Jesus for that matter. If we aim to follow Christ, as Paul exhorts us in Philippians 2, then we must imitate not only his wit and wisdom before opponents but also his silence before enemies and mockers at the cross. In Matthew 27, we read about how the Romans deviated from the typical practice of posting a criminal’s charges above his head as they crucified Christ. Instead, they mocked Jesus with devilish irony as a royal pretender: “This is Jesus, King of the Jews.” They had no idea this very humility of the cross marked Jesus as the ultimate king.
Jesus could have come down and shamed his opponents. He could’ve silenced them once and for all. The religious leaders, later on in the narrative, even tempted him do so. “If he saved others, why can’t he save himself?”
But Jesus, by not saving himself, was saving others.
None of us can replicate what Christ accomplished on the cross. But thanks to his triumphant resurrection, which gave new life to all who believe, even something like our blogging can be done in the Spirit of Christ, by thinking more highly of others than ourselves and forgiving those who oppose us most fiercely. Sarcasm may sometimes be useful, but there are better ways to express regard for our internet enemies. The silence of the cross should cause us to pause and consider our response carefully.
Proverbs warns us, “When words are many, transgression is not lacking” (Proverbs 10:19). That text doesn’t just mean lots of words create lots of opportunities for sin. That’s certainly true, but only superficially. The real danger can be found in the motivation behind constant talking and typing. It’s probably not love, and the example of Jesus reminds us to mortify it.