Jesus ‘knock knock’ picture
I’ve seen the following Jesus ‘meme’ do the rounds on various atheist social media at the moment.
The picture is a well known image of Jesus standing at the door knocking. It is based on Revelation 3: 20 where Jesus speaks to the church in Laodicea and says, ‘Listen! I am standing at the door, I will come in to you and eat with you and you with me.’ The encouragement is for the church in Laodicea, a church who is lukewarm in following Jesus, to open the door of their ‘hearts’ and to enjoy the full company and presence of Jesus. The passage is encouraging a deeper, intimate, more faithful relationship with Jesus, which results in blessing – eating with the Lord himself.
Yet the meme has presented a very different view of Jesus. The meme describes Jesus as angry and threatening – open up so I can save you or else. What the meme has picked up are the biblical themes of salvation and wrath i.e. that Jesus saves us from God’s wrath delivered to those who reject him.
Now the claim that Jesus saves us from the wrath of God is theologically correct. Yet Implicit in this meme is that humans don’t deserve wrath or punishment. It implies that we’re sitting inside the door happily living a morally exemplary life, when along comes a bullying bash at the door from Jesus who says – open up and I’ll save you from my angry wrath. Yet this is not the message of the Bible at all. The message of the Bible is that we all reject God and his goodness – we’re all corrupt. As Christopher Hitchens admitted, ‘man is unquestionably evil’. It’s in this context that Jesus comes, seeks relationship with people to save us from the implications of our rejection. We deserve punishment and Jesus comes and saves us from wrath.
‘God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, we will be saved through him from the wrath of God (Romans 5:8-9)’.