Make Jesus Like You More (At your own risk)

Make Jesus Like You More (At your own risk)

It seems that so many people are out to make a name for themselves. They have invested a large amount of time and money building their personal brand. You see, so much of modern day church “success” is tied to name recognition. If they know your name, they know your church and if they know your church maybe they will give some money. Or something like that…

The kingdom of gods is growing in marketable ways. No, that is not a mistaken capitalization.

Thankfully some are speaking out against it: 

Not Much Has Changed

But this magnetic phenomenon is not exclusively reserved for modern day church leaders. Every bible-reading Christian gets drawn to their favorite characters. Jesus’ 12 disciples are not immune to the treatment. 

Two men represent 99.9% of all Christians who have ever lived. And nobody remembers their name.

People tend to fall in love with Peter and John – the Rock and the Beloved, respectively. History and the Holy Spirit has granted them an un-proportional advantage when it comes to page space in the Scriptures. Unlike the modern day, spotlight-seeking hucksters who use every trick to garner more attention and more dollars, the disciples had no control over the recording of their stories or the public platform they would be given.

Which brings us to the two guys nobody remembers. Thaddeus Judas (not the original Benedict Arnold) and James the son of Alphaeus (Not the other, more noted James). These two barely get mention in the scriptures. Between the two of them they have one recorded speaking part. They were not part of the inner circle like Peter, James, and John. They did not have a cool origin story like Nathaniel. They did not even play the antagonist. They just hung around and maybe carried around baskets of bread. 

So why even discuss Thaddeus Judas and James the Son of Alphaeus? Because these two men represent 99.9% of all Christians who have ever lived.  History books and biographies of popular Christians fill Amazon.com, but the real heavy lifting of Christianity has been carried on by the multitudes of those whose name will scarcely be remembered – except by those whose lives were changed because of somebody’s obedience to the call of Jesus. 

The Root of the Problem

Significance in the Kingdom of God is based on what Jesus did for us – being crucified, raising from the dead, and reconciling us with the Father – and not on what we do for him.

We desperately want to believe that the more that we accomplish for the Kingdom of God the more significant we become to Jesus. The roots of these feelings fall into the category of Christian legalism. But that is not the way that the Kingdom of God works.  Significance in the Kingdom of God is based on what Jesus did for us – being crucified, raising from the dead, and reconciling us with the Father – and not on what we do for him. 

Let me be blunt – If you “work” for Jesus so that he will like you better you are actually just working for yourself. You are no better than the charlatans that take all your money and keep asking for more.

For more on the life and meaning of Thaddeus and James, check out Another Empty Conversation #ec1dot03.

About the Author | Josh Schaidt
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I love cookies and I still buy music one album at a time. I founded Empty Church so you can follow Jesus.


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This American Church
A place for exploring the Church in the American context. Issues may get political, cultural, and philosophical — but it’s always personal.

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