Thursday, April 01, 2010

The will of the mob

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Luke 23:1-25

TO CHEW ON: “They were more fierce, saying, ‘He stirs up the people…’”

And they all cried at once saying, ‘Away with this man.’
But they shouted, ‘Crucify Him, crucify Him.’
But they were insistent, demanding with loud voices that He be crucified. And the voices of these men and of the chief priests prevailed.” Luke 23:5, 18, 21, 23
"Give us Barabbas"  by Charles Louis Lucien Muller (1815-1892)

The picture of this angry mob demanding Jesus’ death brings to mind mobs I have seen (mostly via TV and the safety of my living room).
- Muslim demonstrations after the publication of the Danish cartoons.
- Mobs on the streets of Kiev during the Orange Revolution movement in Ukraine.
- Partisan fans at soccer games in Britain and Europe.
- Bloodthirsty crowds during wars of genocide in Rwanda and Kenya.
- Most lately the multitudes on the streets of Vancouver during the 2010 Olympics, cheering on Canadian athletes.

While being a part of these mobs can be fun and non-threatening (as in the last one), I can imagine feeling only terror should one be on the opposite side of the will of most mobs. Mob psychology is unpredictable but often results in actions of apparent insanity that would never happen during moments of cooler emotion. Before we are too hard on the disciples for never raising a hand to defend Jesus but running away, we should put ourselves in their places. Would we have done any different? I see this angry mob during the events of Jesus’ passion as another ploy of Satan. He would use every trick in the book. Frenzied voices raised in unison against Jesus suited him just fine.

But not even a mob is bigger than God. In this case, the will of the mob prevailed because it was part of God’s plan of how He would accomplish our salvation. When we are tempted to fear mobs in whatever guise they take – public opinion, the results of polls, anti-Christian articles on the internet along with supportive and often abusive comments, voices rallied by satirical shows like SNL that mock Christians and Christianity – here are some Bible words to help encourage you and bolster your faith:

Psalm 3:6, Psalm 27:3; Psalm 112:8; Psalm 118:6; Isaiah 6:12; Isaiah 12:2; 2 Timothy 1:7; 1 John 4:18

PRAYER: Dear God, it is easy for me to become intimidated by a multitude of voices. In such times, please remind me that You are Lord, even of the mob. Amen.

"It is no fun to be in a room where everyone assumes a particular view and you do not hold it. Only the very brave, the very wise, or fools rush to expose their minority opinions. Few of us are brave or wise and fools simply confirm the stereotypes. The rest of the very religious keep quiet and so nobody learns. " - John Mark Reynolds, Professor of Philosophy & Director of the Torrey Honors Institute, Biola University.

The article from which the quote was taken: “Ignorance of Christianity No Virtue.”

Do your 8-12-year-olds have daily devotions? Point them to Bible Drive-Thru.

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