Living in the Public Eye: How Jesus Related to the Masses and Why We Can’t Remain in the Crowd (Repost)

  • With the religious leaders (Pharisees, scribes, and Sadducees)
  • With his disciples

Life in the Public Eye

When crowds first gathered around Jesus, he responded by preaching the Sermon on the Mount. It’s an idyllic picture: Jesus sitting on a mountaintop, teaching the ways of God. Crowds of people on the slopes, overlooking the sparkling waters of the Sea of Galilee, listening to the Son of God teach.

The Needs of the Crowd

Sociologically, it’s a well-known fact that masses of people act differently than individuals or small groups do. A crowd is more than the sum of its parts. A mass of people, feeding off one another and acting together, becomes an entity all its own.

The Burden of Celebrity

This particular story in Matthew 9 is one of the more negative interactions with a crowd. The mourners gathered at Jairus’s house mock and laugh at Jesus when he says the girl is sleeping, and Jesus does not raise her from the dead until he has summarily dismissed them.

The Pressure Cooker

We don’t know much about Jesus’ first thirty years on earth. But once he went public with his ministry and began to preach that the kingdom of God had come, the heat was on. Whether he liked it or not, life was no longer just about “me and God.”

  • Condemnation or approval (“How will they respond to this?”)
  • Physical demands (When do you sleep? When do you eat? When do you get five minutes alone to think or build relationship with those who are close to you?)

How Jesus Handled the Pressure

We begin serving God publicly for a reason. We have a vision, a goal. We have a mission or a message. We got this from God. It was all about obedience to his calling, faithfulness to his Spirit.

Stepping Out of the Crowd

For us, Jesus’ example serves as a powerful reminder that we don’t have to be controlled by others or by the challenges of celebrity. In a time when we all live our lives far more publicly than at any time in the past — Facebook alone has made that a reality — we all need to know this.

  • We need to seek him — to ask what he is doing, to seek to understand his heart. We need to develop a rich prayer life and learn from the Scriptures.
  • We need to let our attitudes and habits be shaped by the Spirit and not primarily by our peers. When “groupthink” is out of step with the Spirit, we must be willing to be challenged and to change our behavior, even if we have to do it alone.

I would love to hear from you. Scroll down to leave a comment below!

This is Part 129 in a series on the Gospel of Matthew, which you can access here. Unless otherwise marked, quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.

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I am an author, blogger, speaker, and disciple of Jesus Christ. I blog on the kingdom of God at rachelstarrthomson.com.

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Rachel Starr Thomson

Rachel Starr Thomson

I am an author, blogger, speaker, and disciple of Jesus Christ. I blog on the kingdom of God at rachelstarrthomson.com.

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