Your Opinion Doesn’t Matter To Jesus

October 1, 2012 at 5:15 am Leave a comment

Last week, I stumbled across a blog post by Matt Chambers that struck me:

Could you imagine what Jesus’ ministry would have looked like if after giving “The Sermon on the Mount” He immediately checked social media to see how many retweets He got, or if #beatitudes was trending?

Or, before riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, He sat down with His creative team to map out exactly how to create a moment people would remember for thousands of years. (#TriumphalEntry, anyone?)

I wonder what opinion polls would have looked like after the crucifixion…or a big throw down with Pharisees…or a mass healing session.  What if He healed certain people more than others because data showed healing someone with leprosy went viral (heh, viral) faster than healing the blind?[1]

As we enter into the home stretch of yet another presidential election, it’s important to value and pray for our leaders, for they are given to us by God as Romans 13:1 so aptly reminds us.   But it also doesn’t hurt to chuckle a little at the human avenues and inroads that our politicians regularly leverage to try to garner and sustain power – opinion polls being one of them.

I especially appreciate Matt’s reference to Jesus’ Triumphal Entry (cf. John 12:12-15) and trying “to create a moment people would remember for thousands of years.”  This year, both political parties tried – using plenty of opinion polls about their presidential candidates’ relative strengths and weaknesses – to do exactly that at their conventions.  Though only time will tell, I doubt memories from these conventions will last thousands of days, much less thousands of years.  Jesus, as Matt so wryly notes, took no opinion polls, yet Christians across the world still celebrate Palm Sunday to this day.  Apparently, Jesus can create a long-lasting moment without consulting polls on what people think of Him.

Currently, I am teaching a Bible study to a couple of different groups on the Old Testament book of Daniel.  In chapter two, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has a dream where he sees a statue made of gold, silver, bronze, and iron mixed with clay.  Nebuchadnezzar knows his dream is of consequence, but his astrologers and soothsayers are not able to offer any interpretation of his dream.  But Daniel, a Hebrew exile to Babylon, can.  Daniel explains that the different materials in the statue represent different kingdoms – the gold being the Babylonian Kingdom, the silver being the Persian Kingdom, the bronze being the Kingdom of Alexander the Great, with the bronze and clay finally signifying the Roman Empire.  Most important to Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, however, is what happens to all of these kingdoms:  “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever” (Daniel 2:44).

Human kingdoms, no matter how many opinion polls their leaders may consult, never manage to endure.  The Kingdom of God, ushered in by Jesus, crushes them all, itself enduring forever – even without the benefit of opinion polls.  In fact, it endures in spite of really bad opinion polls – opinion polls so poor, in fact, that they got Jesus nailed to a cross.

As Election Day draws near, we’ll watch kingdoms be built and coalitions of constituents be congealed.  But in the midst of all the political intrigue,  let’s not forget to which Kingdom we pledge our ultimate allegiance.  For that Kingdom has staying power that will last far beyond November 6.  That Kingdom will last forever.

[1] Matt Chambers, “First Church of Public Opinion,” (9.25.12).

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