Why is God Hanging out with the Wrong People?

Every day on the job as the Public Relations manager for Jesus would have been part comedy, part nightmare. The man was born without a political bone in his body.

For starters, he had poor taste in friends. Case in point: the Jews detested the money-hungry, backstabbing tax gougers, but Jesus marches right up to one of those traitors and says, “Follow me.”

He welcomed a zealot into his inner circle, even though those guys were the ancient equivalent of domestic terrorists.

He rubbed shoulders with women in the sex trade, Samaritan heretics, leprous pariahs, and other miscreants of society.

If when you hang out with dogs, you’re gonna get fleas, then Jesus must have been crawling with them.

He also couldn't keep his mouth shut. He gave a tongue-lashing to the most powerful men in the religious establishment. Many of his parables are the verbal equivalent of slapping the pope in the face. He called the religious elites nothing but attention-hungry, big-headed sons of Satan. Yet if Jesus had glad-handed these men, they could have been used to accelerate his career.

He even seemed to invite slanderous accusations against him. Because he hung out with the wrong crowd, his enemies mocked, “Look, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners!” (Matt 11:19).

@@Imagine if Zacchaeus posted on Jerusalem's Facebook a selfie with Jesus.@@ The top dog among the tax-gougers with Christ at his dinner table. Oh, the outrage! The puritanical zealots would have been tweeting and blogging about it for months. 

@@Jesus ruined his reputation by not only welcoming, but actively seeking out, the wrong people.@@

And I won’t even go into the public embarrassment that must have ensued when he went berserk in the temple courts, upending tables, untying animals, and giving the crowd a tongue-lashing for transmogrifying his Father’s home into a business.

  • From a PR perspective, Jesus sawed off any and every political limb he was sitting on.
  • From a career perspective, he was a failure.
  • From a religious perspective, he was a troublemaker.
  • From a streetwise perspective, he danced with death.
  • From a public relations perspective, he was a train wreck.

And from his Father’s perspective, he could do no wrong.

I never did care much for the WWJD question because Jesus is the poster child of unpredictability. If you ask me, “What would he do?” I’d say, “Probably what you would least expect.” He would ruin his reputation among religious folk by hanging out with those with soiled reputations. He would speak hard truth when soft, white lies would make life easier. He would touch lepers; compliment prostitutes and insult priests; flaunt his freedom in the face of legalists; and eventually get himself so deep in trouble that he ends up in handcuffs, in court, and onto a cross.

The wisdom of God will always look like foolishness to men. He chooses ungodlike ways to bring ungodly sinners into his kingdom of losers who get everything by grace.

Jesus matches none of our expectations. Thank God he doesn’t.

He befriends all of us, no matter who we are, no matter how ruined we are, no matter how good or bad we think we are.

He call us, one and all, to himself. And in him we become part of that motley crew of redeemed fools whom Jesus calls friends.