Leadership#9. “Send in the Clowns.”

Leadership#9. “Send in the Clowns.”

“A fire broke out backstage in a theatre. The clown came out to warn the public; they thought it was a joke and applauded. He repeated it; the acclaim was even greater. I think that’s just how the world will come to an end: to general applause from wits who believe it’s a joke.” ― Søren Kierkegaard

The apostle Paul seized the opportunity to witness for Christ before Festus, King Agrippa and Bernice (Acts 26). All was well with his “From Christian-hunter to Apostle of Jesus” story until he expected them to believe that Jesus rose from the dead (v.23).

Festus couldn’t hold it in: “Paul, you are out of your mind! Your great learning is driving you mad” (v.24).

Paul went from fearless-pioneer-missionary to ‘madman’ in a sentence. After all, dead men don’t rise—especially those crucified on Roman crosses. Now this sect leader, who was wanted dead by the Jews, was insisting that this risen Jesus was King and Saviour of the world. This was too much!

This was not an unexpected reaction. Paul had been warned by Jesus that he would suffer rejection for the gospel.

In turn, Paul told the Corinthian church how “the wise of this world” really thought about Christians and their Jesus story: “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing” (1Cor.1:18).

Church leaders must take note and stay strong. If the “power of God for us who are being saved is foolishness to those who are perishing,” then that makes us fools in their eyes. Christians should think it normal when not taken seriously.

It is not hard for each Christian can see themselves as Kierkegaard’s clown. We warn the public of the fire to come, but because we have put on Christ as our clothing and mimic his ‘foolish talk,’ they laugh at us as if joking.

As much as they may think the judgement to come a joke, they will not be laughing. Instead, “Every knee will bow” when Jesus returns.

John Staiger


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