Sermons

Summary: Jesus intended to conquer, but not like any other conqueror who had ever lived. His method was sheer folly to the world and still is today, but Jesus goes on reigning while the mighty mock him and then disappear into the dust of oblivion.

Harry Reichenback in the book World's Most Spectacular

Hoaxes tells of his grand deception in promoting Francis

Bushman. Bushman was a small time actor in Chicago, but

Reichenback was able to get his salary raised to a

commanding figure. He took Bushman to New York and

carried 2000 pennies in his pockets. As they walked along

42nd street toward the Metro office he dropped handfuls of

pennies. At first only children came running to pick up the

coins, but so conspicuous was the commotion that soon

everybody was following them. By the time they reached

Metro the streets were milling with crowds. When the

officers of Metro looked out of the window they judged

Bushman's popularity by the vast throngs that had followed

him, and he received a 1000 dollar a week raise without an

argument. Reichenback confesses, "The fact was, not a

living soul in the mob knew Bushman."

Jesus was tempted to get mixed up in a clever scheme

something like this in which he would exploit the crowds of

his day. The only difference is that he did not have to fake

popularity He could have the real thing. Satan said to him,

"Jump off the pinnacle of the temple and you will be

preserved from injury." Such a sensational stunt would

have had the crowds clamoring after Jesus to be their king.

Satan had some great ideas for promoting the popularity of

Jesus, but Jesus refused to give heed to any of his schemes.

One of the strangest paradoxes of Scripture is that Satan

sought constantly to promote the popularity of Jesus. Satan

wanted it shouted from the housetops that Jesus was the Son

of God. He wanted Jesus to be ruler over the kingdoms of

men, and longed for a revolutionary movement in which the

people would put Jesus on the throne as their king. All

through his ministry Jesus had to fight the efforts of Satan to

promote his popularity, and derail him from his purpose. Jesus

did not hesitate to perform spectacular miracles for

great crowds such as feeding the 5000. His healing ministry

was not behind closed doors, but in public places. Yet, there

is the mysterious effort of Jesus to suppress an all out

proclamation that he was the Messiah. Jesus wanted this

message saved until after his death and resurrection.

People were coming to all kinds of conclusions about

him. Some said he was John the Baptist revived; others that

he was Elijah or Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. All

agreed he had to be a great person, but only a few knew he

was the Son of God. After Peter said, "Thou art the Christ

the Son of the living God," we read in Matt. 16:20, "Then he

strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the

Christ." Jesus deliberately suppressed the fact that he was

God in human flesh. Jesus was over 30, and so 30

Christmas' have already gone by, and no one had ever

celebrated one of the greatest event in human history. It was

because Jesus did not permit this good news of the

incarnation to be proclaimed.

Jesus even had to use his supernatural authority over

demons to keep them from blabbing the greatest news on

earth. In Mark 3:11 the unclean spirits cry out, "You are

the Son of God." In verse 12 we read, "And he strictly

ordered them not to make him known." Jesus was the first

person to try and silence the preaching of his deity. Friend

and foe; disciples and demons, were anxious to make it

known, but Jesus was always telling them to be quiet

concerning his true identity. We haven't looked at all the

occasions on which Jesus urged people to hold down on the

publicity concerning him. It is frequent enough to be

conspicuous.

What is behind this mysterious behavior which we see

again in our text? It seems so strange and even senseless, for

verse 14 tells us that the Pharisees were taking council to kill

him. Verse 15 says that great multitudes followed and he

healed them all. Then verse 16 hits us with a strange charge

that they not make him known. Who in the world was left to

tell? This is like trying to hide the sun. The whole nation

was either out to kill him, or receive life from him. Great

multitudes were following him, so it is obvious that the cat is

out of the bag. Somebody has already let it slip that Jesus is

where the action is. He was the most popular person in

Israel, yet he never stopped trying to prevent further

promotion. Even when the fire of his fame was raging

uncontrollably across the Judean landscape, he still tried to

throw a wet blanket on the desire to make him known.

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