“The Pharisees then said to one another, “You see, you can do nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.” John 12:19
The Pharisees don’t get it. They say this after seeing the crowds who swarmed Christ during the “triumphant arrival” in Jerusalem. But Christ doesn’t get his power from people. It’s the other way around.
I get where the Pharisees are coming from. They feel threatened. They already lost the political power of their homeland to the Romans: they don’t want to lose their religious authority.
Powerlessness isn’t a good feeling for anyone, especially when you’ve grown used to it. The Pharisees are always around in our Gospel stories. They’ve seen the miracles that Jesus has performed. They’ve heard his teachings; both the conviction with which he speaks and the charity that he extends to the “least of these.” But they still don’t get it because they don’t want to. If Jesus is the real deal, everything about their lives will change.
Even when they seem to be giving Jesus credit, like the above verse- that isn’t real power. That’s notoriety. Jesus is not a Kardashian. Throngs of people may have surrounded him as he entered the city of people, especially in throngs, are fickle. In case you forgot the season we’re in, Jesus is going to be dead by the end of the week.
Do you know what people do for Jesus after this showing of support? Judas is going to betray him for 30 pieces of silver. Peter is going to deny him three times before morning. And the throng? The throng will shout “Crucify him!”
The only thing that people do for Jesus is give him someone to save.
I’ve been out of high school for ten years now, and I’m still waiting for popularity to seem worthless and silly. It looks different now. I learned pretty early that the “cool kids” were often boring but I’ve yet to meet anyone who says “I don’t care what people think of me” and actually means it. We want to be liked, and if it isn’t too much to ask, to be liked by everyone.
I’ll admit: I hate reading stories about the church is in decline (and not just for my own job security). Most Americans have heard the Gospel yet more and more people seem to be turning away from religion. Why does this entity who has come to hold so much of my heart not find a similar reception everywhere? (Especially among people my age.)
But Jesus doesn’t need people. I want everyone to know the God I love and not just for validation of my own choices but because I know of nothing that can offer more joy, peace, purpose and life than Christianity. Than Christ, to be more specific.
People betrayed Jesus. They let him down. And as big of a fan as I am of people, I don’t think anyone reading this can say they’ve never been let down by a member of their own species. There’s no real power in people. But if you’re looking for power, maybe consider the one who is going to conquer death this weekend. It doesn’t get more powerful than that.blog comments powered by Disqus