Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
Matthew 16:23 (NIV)
Our epic stories and movies are filled with messiahs. I am fond of saying that all good stories are a reflection of the Great Story and the archetype of the “chosen one” is woven through many of our favorites from Anakin Skywalker who is destined to bring balance to the Force to Neo in the Matrix. It’s made clear in the Lord of the Rings that Bilbo was “meant” to find the One Ring and Frodo was “meant” to destroy it. Harry Potter is just a baby when Voldemort’s killing curse rebounds and unexpectedly binds the two of them together. Rowling puts a spin on fate, revealing later in the story that Voldemort could have chosen Neville as the prophesied one. And, we haven’t even scratched the surface of our comic book heroes.
On this chapter-a-day journey through Matthew’s biography of Jesus, I’ve been struck by Jesus’ intention to keep His mission on the down-low. This made me think this morning that even a bad PR firm would have quickly seen flaws in Jesus’ marketing plan. As I thought about it, I imagined how a marketing guru would pitch Jesus on a PR makeover…
“Jesus! Dude! I love you man. I know you’re a busy man so I’ll get right to the point. Believe me, Jesus. You have got the potential to be the biggest thing since Solomon. I’m not making that up. You could be Michael Jordan huge. But, I have to be honest with you. You’ve got three big problems with your go-to-market strategy. Don’t worry. We can fix them for you.
“First, everyone knows that Jerusalem is where the Messiah is destined to rule. Look, I get it. You have a heart for the ol’ stomping grounds. You’re a good kid. You love your mom. She’s a great lady, but I gotta tell you that staying in this rural Galilee region traveling from small town to small town is no way to make a run for Messiah. And, no more going to solitary places where the crowds have to find you. Seriously!? No concessions. No restrooms. Long commute. Trust me, it’s a big mistake! We’ll book your Mystery Miracle Tour in the biggest Roman amphitheaters in the biggest towns from Caesarea to Jerusalem.
“Second, you’ve got to stop telling people to keep the Messiah thing to themselves. Dude, word-of-mouth is everything these days. You need to start selling swag at your events. Don’t worry. We can make that happen. We have people for that. You’ll be everywhere. Trust me. Your best lines. Especially that ‘Truth will set you free’ one. Post it! Tweet it! I love that shit. Sorry. Pardon my French. Look, you want to be at the top of the trending list on all the major platforms: #JesustheMessiah. SEO. Top of page one on Google. We’ve got people for that, too. Forget about it.
“And finally, you’ve got to stop pissing off the Pharisees, especially the execs from Jerusalem. Jesus, let me give it to you straight. Just hear me out. In your demographic, the Temple in Jerusalem is where it’s at. It’s your Carnegie Hall, your Radio City Music Hall, your Altamont. That’s where you need to be, my friend. You want a regular gig like Wayne Newton in Vegas, and you don’t play the Temple unless the Pharisees in the C-Suite are on your side. You’ve been pissing off the wrong people. Change the narrative. Go after the Romans. The crowds will eat it up.
“Now, there are some other issues. Little things. You need better people in your entourage. The cute little stories no one understands? Cut ’em from the act. Perform more miracles. More miracles! Especially the free food. That alone will pack the Temple six nights a week. But, like I said. Small tweaks. They’re nothing. You sign with us, and you address those big three issues, and we will have you sitting on the throne in Jerusalem by Passover, my friend!“
All joking aside, the further I get in my earthly journey the more I appreciate just how different Jesus really was in the way He went about everything. He refused to operate by the playbook of the kingdoms of this world. Time-and-time-again Jesus exemplified that “the concerns of God” as he stated to Peter, run contrary to “merely human concerns.”
I desire that my life would increasingly exemplify the same.
If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.