Hold My Beer

“Hold my beer” has become the thing to say. If I understand correctly, its proper context would be in the heat of a challenge (or maybe a dare). Apparently, it’s an abbreviated version of “Hold my beer and watch this!” People usually say this when they’re about to venture into an ill-advised action. I can’t remember ever having said that, but it might be because I seldom have a beer in my hand. Still, I’ve got it in reserve in case the situation ever arises.

As usual, the rise in popularity of this phrase has caused me to wonder about the life of Christ (surprise, surprise). Think about it. How many times did Jesus wade into a situation that seemed untenable, only to face the encounter and conquer it? Please allow a few examples.

Onlooker: Jesus! Your disciples are out in the boat and I see a storm rushing down that northwest wadi! You’ll never get there in time! They’ll all be drowned! Jesus: Hold my beer…

Martha: My brother, Lazarus, died and was buried four days ago. Jesus: Hold my beer…

Unnamed disciple: Lord! These people are going to push you off this cliff! Jesus: Hold my beer…

Townie: Rabbi! This guy has been blind since birth! Jesus: Hold my beer…

Demoniac: Go away you Holy One of God! Leave me alone! Jesus: Hold my beer…

All this tongue-in-cheek-ness is nonsense of course. If I understand correctly, the preferred drink of the time was wine, not beer. I’m pretty sure Jesus never used that phrase at all. Still, he never seemed afraid to tackle the spiritual challenges that were before him. While the preceding dialogs were written in jest, the circumstances were real.

Jesus did walk on water, raise people from the dead, walk through hostile crowds, heal the blind, and cast out demons. He did a lot of other things as well.

The Real Reason

Besides the fact that beer was not the common drink of his era, there is another more important reason why he would have never used that phrase. The reason is a simple one. He didn’t do any of these things to make himself look good. He wasn’t seeking his fifteen minutes of fame. He wasn’t trying to drum up popularity for himself.

Unlike those of us who say, “Hold my beer” today, Jesus had no ulterior motive. He just loved people and wanted to help them. He had compassion on them. He empathized with their plight.

While it’s the miracles we seem to remember most, Jesus made it clear that’s not why he came. He, himself, told us his prime reason for being here was to preach the good news (Mark 1:21-38). The miracles and other acts of compassion were extras, so to speak. And while those acts confirmed his spiritual authority, they were not his main purpose. He unassumingly met needs where he saw them. No thanks needed… No undue accolades sought out…

He inspires me to do more…even with no beer to hand off.

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently the pastor of Smith Chapel, in Great Falls, VA.]

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