It is interesting to compare conversations we have with new believers to those that Jesus with His new followers.
Here is how conversations usually go today between a New Believer (NB) and an Experienced Pro (EP):
EP: It’s been good seeing you in church. Are you learning a lot?
NB: Oh, yeah! I’ve been reading my Bible every day, just like pastor said I should. I’ve seen God answer a lot of my prayers, and lots of people here in church are so friendly.
EP: Good, good. We’re always here for you if you ever need anything or have any questions.
NB: You know, now that you mention it, I do have a question.
EP: Sure, what is it?
NB: Well, some of my friends are having a party next weekend, and they’ve invited me to go. Usually, before I became a Christian, I would party every weekend. But now, I haven’t been to one in a while, and my friends are starting to wonder what happened to me. I had a lot of really good friends, and I would kind of like to go to the party. Do you think I should go?
EP: Hmmm. Well, will there be beer at the party?
NB: Yeah. Lots of it.
EP: How about drugs, dancing, and sex?
NB: Well, of course people are going to dance, and some will probably hook up afterwards. There might be a few people with drugs, but it’s not like in the movies where there are piles of cocaine on the coffee table.
EP: Do you think that as a Christian, you should be getting drunk, doing drugs, and having sex with strangers?
NB: Well, no, but I’m not planning on doing that. I just want to hang out with my friends.
EP: Uh-huh. Tell me something. When you went to these parties before, did you drink, have sex, and do drugs?
EP: So there is a good chance that if you go to this party, you will fall back into your old sinful habits, and will end up doing the same things you did before. You can’t do that now. You’re a follower of Jesus. You need to turn your back on the past, reject your sinful ways, and live your new life in Christ.
NB: I suppose you’re right. I guess I’ll have to tell my friends I can’t make it.
EP: You know what? We’re having a pot luck and board game night here at the church on Friday night. It is always lots of fun. Why don’t you come and invite a few of your friends to the party here instead?
NB: I don’t know if my friends would want to do that, but I guess I could ask.
EP: Yep. It never hurts to ask! See you on Friday.
Now, here is how a similar conversation might go with Jesus and one of his New Followers (NF):
Jesus: I’m glad you joined with us. I like hanging out with you.
NF: Yeah, Jesus, me too!
Jesus: You look like you’ve got something on your mind.
NF: Well, some of my friends are having a party next weekend, and they’ve invited me to go. Usually, before I started following you, I would go to one of these almost every weekend. But now, I haven’t been to one in a while, and my friends are starting to wonder what happened to me. I had a lot of really good friends, and I would kind of like to go to the party. Do you think I should?
Jesus: Absolutely you should go, but on one condition.
NF: What’s that?
Jesus: Can I come?
NF: Sure! You go to parties?
Jesus: I love parties. Did I tell you about the time when I was at a party and they ran out of wine, so I made 150 more gallons of it?
NF: What? You did that? Wow. My friends are gonna love you!
Jesus: I hope so. I truly hope so.
So let me ask: Which approach is better, and what are the pros and cons of each? Do you think that parties in the time of Jesus were so different from parties of today that Jesus would attend parties then, but not attend parties now?