For about five dollars you can buy a four-inch plastic bobblehead Jesus that bounces on a metal spring and adheres firmly to the dashboard of your car. One advertisement for this product says you can “stick him where you need forgiveness” and he will “guide you through the valley of gridlock.”
The dashboard Jesus has become a cultural phenomenon. In the song “Plastic Jesus” Billy Idol sings, “With my plastic Jesus, goodbye and I'll go far, with my plastic Jesus sitting on the dashboard of my car.” Paul Newman sang it in the movie Cool Hand Luke. The words begin, “Well, I don’t care if it rains or freezes, long as I have my plastic Jesus sitting on the dashboard of my car.”
To lots of people, Jesus, church, and Christianity are cultural trappings but not life-changing realities. Author Josh McDowell warns that many people today see Jesus “like a plastic statue on a car dashboard—smiling, robed, a halo suspended above his head.” But that superstitious or sentimental view of Jesus is a myth. Jesus of Nazareth was no plastic saint. He’s a real-world kind of Savior.
It’s not important whether you have Jesus on your car’s dashboard, but it’s vital to know he’s living in your heart. He isn’t plastic, he’s powerful. He’s not small, he’s infinite. He’s not a good-luck token. He’s the risen Lord of time and eternity.