This post is the fifth in a multipart series—#TweetLikeJesus: Social Media to the Glory of God. For background on the approach taken, see the first post — “Social Media to the Glory of God.”
Communication in the Life of Jesus
In the previous post, we saw that Jesus is the perfect image of God. He perfectly represents his Father to the world.
We see this in the way Jesus communicates. He says in John 12:49, “For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.” What he says is what God says. With his words, Jesus:
— spoke the truth (John 1:51)
— healed the sick (John 5:8)
— cast out demons (Mark 1:25-26)
— honored and defended the oppressed (Luke 13:15-16)
— taught (Matthew 7:28-29)
— offered rest to the weary (Matthew 11:28-30)
— offers forgiveness (Luke 7:44-50)
— blessed (Matthew 16:17)
Of course, sometimes this communication is startling. (I point these out to say that Jesus is not predictable. He is not the stereotype we often present.) With his words, Jesus:
— calls people names (Luke 13:32)
— corrects (Matthew 22:29)
— rebukes (Matthew 23)
— curses (Matthew 11:14, 21)
— confuses (6:52)
— refuses to speak (Matthew 21:27; 26:63)
In all of this, Jesus is doing one thing—exercising dominion as the perfect image of God.
Technology in the Life of Jesus
There is no reason to believe that Jesus avoided or shunned the technology of his day (except, perhaps, for the occasional miraculous shortcut across a lake or supply of wine, fish, and loaves!). Jesus lived in houses, wore clothing and sandals, ate bread, drank wine, rode domesticated animals, did carpentry work, read scrolls, reclined at tables—he lived an otherwise “normal” human existence. And all these things were the products of technology.
What is significant is that Jesus never abused them for his own ends. He always used them in a manner consistent with his mission to display the glory of God.
There is one piece of technology to which I want to draw our attention—the Roman cross. The Romans designed the cross as an instrument of torture and death. It was designed to maximize torment, prolonging agony until death overcame the strength of the victim.
Jesus, in obedience to his Father, was willingly subjected to this technology—he was crucified and died. But the dominion of Jesus is so great that, in God’s purposes, he subverts what the world designed as an instrument of death and makes it into a means of life. By dying on a cross—a sign of God’s curse—Jesus bears the penalty for his people. With sin and death removed, as proved by his resurrection, Jesus secures forgiveness of sin for his people. He then fills us with the Holy Spirit and begins transforming us into his image (with lives that reflect his glory).
Social Media in the Life of Jesus
So, what can we learn from Jesus about social media?
First, we find the redemption we need for all our misuse of it. Everyone who has used social media has sinned through social media. We’ve wasted our time. We attacked and harmed other people. We’ve used our platform for self-glorification, self-advancement, self-protection—sometimes by what we’ve said and sometimes by what we’ve left unsaid. If we are honest, our social media accounts have not represented to the world what God is like. We have used this technology to communicate something false about God to seek our own glory.
The Good News of the Gospel is that Jesus succeeded where we failed. When we trust in Christ—believing that he lived for us, died for us, rose for us—his perfect record of “social media” use is credited to our account, even as God reckons our record of misuse to him on the cross.
Second, we see how we ought to live. As Christians, God has poured his Spirit into our hearts so that we might be transformed into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:16-4:10). The result is a transformation into the image of Jesus; we represent the glory of God to the world.
Third, we find the power to do that. Change does not happen by taping a list of rules for social media use to the wall above our monitor. Change does not occur by merely avoiding social media altogether. (You can go “off the grid” and find plenty of ways to abuse technology and communication in sinful ways. That’s been happening since the fall!)
Change happens as God removes our sin, opening our eyes to see how beautiful Jesus is. When we see and savor the glory of God as it is reflected in his life, death, and resurrection, that affection drives out our sinful desires and produces in us a desire to imitate our Savior.
So, how then should we live?
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