Friendship is a great good and Facebook friendship is a lesser good, but that does not mean it isn’t a good.
Facebook is enjoyable and a great improvement over once a year Christmas newsletters. Conversations take place and information is exchanged. Just because a good is the greatest good doesn’t mean it isn’t good!
But would Jesus Facebook?
The obvious answer is that when His followers use Facebook, then He is present, but would Jesus have used Facebook in His earthly ministry.
That too is not so interesting: Jesus came into a moment in history at the perfect technological moment. To see Jesus Christ one had to meet Him, but it was possible for His disciples to save His message and transmit it without losing it or trivializing it.
Jesus faced a technological situation where there was no danger of false intimacy and this was important, because in His fullness, Jesus Christ could not have used social media: a God-Man cannot fully Facebook. Jesus was fully human and that human nature could easily have used Facebook: we would have pictures shot by eager disciples on Instagram and recordings of the Sermon on the Mount on iTunes University. Jesus the Rabbi, Jesus the Suffering Servant, Jesus the Son of Man could be known in word and image.
But Jesus had a Divine nature and I don’t think a Divine Nature can be put on Facebook: nobody should get out their phone and take pix of the Transfiguration. The eye of the soul sees realities that cannot be captured in a physical medium. We can see the empty tomb with our physical eyes, but you have to be there to see the Angels.
There is more in Heaven and Earth than can be captured by any technology.
Of course, this is also a limitation of any technology: even the Holy Bible isn’t Jesus. The words are true, without error, but the words are not enough. A reader must meet the Spirit, the Word behind the words, in order to know Jesus. Even the perfect icon of Scriptures are not enough: Jesus could inspire a book, but He cannot be contained in a book.
In fact, I don’t think Jesus would Facebook for the some of the same reasons He didn’t write a regular book.
Jesus, like Socrates, did not write down His message: His disciples did. His divine life was the message: you had to know Him, you have to know Him, in three dimensions to get Him. Jesus demands we know Him as He is and not stop at the propositions. The truths matter and so we have an inspired guide, but Jesus saves n0t the Good Book.
Imagine if His disciples had flooded the world in real time with their uninspired thoughts, their carelessly taken pictures, and their misunderstandings. “Jesus soon to be King” tweets Simon the Zealot on Palm Sunday. “Nuke Samaritan losers” writes Peter after Jesus was rejected by a village.
We might never have found the Gospels in the pile of bilge: Gnostic natter and modern Jesus kitsch are bad enough.
A book requires care, literacy is a learned skill, and lacks the immediacy of video, but even the best Book cannot replace the God-Man.
And Jesus remains an immediate Friend in good and bad times. You have to chat with a Facebook friend, you even have to speak to a present friend, but Jesus is a Friend who is within the heart of His friends. Jesus knows: telling Him in prayer is good for me, but gives Him no new information. Jesus isn’t me, He is angered by my sin, and hates the world, the flesh, and the devil, but He also loves me.
No Facebook friend, indeed no friend, can be so immediately aware of my internal reality: Jesus knows me better than I know me. I can lie to myself, but not to Jesus.
A man can unfriend Facebook followers, but he cannot “unfriend” Jesus: only make himself the enemy of God. God will not leave, God cannot be dismissed, and we cannot hide from Him. This is bad news, but the better news is that Jesus longs to love us. He will not love us as we are, but He longs to love us as we can be. He will see us as a work in progress if we let His work progress.
If not, then He is there and He will judge.
If I allow Jesus to change me, then I have gained a Friend that will stick closer than a brother.
If I do not allow Jesus to change me, then I have gained a Judge that cannot be fooled or deceived.
Jesus, the God-Man, is revealed in Scripture, but will be known personally by us all: as Friend or as Judge.
Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.