Summary: Regardless of public opinion, what matters is YOUR own decision about Jesus.
1. Pan and the Filth of the World
On October 30, 2011, Brian McGuinn's wife of five years, Anna, handed her husband her ring, asking him to put it in her jewelry box while she showered. At the same time, Brian picked up a disposable razor and without thinking, he tossed both into the trash. The couple didn't realize what had happened until the next morning -- after Waste Management had already picked up the garbage from their Florida condo. Anna, five months pregnant, burst into tears. Desperate to find her $10,000 ring, she called the division of their Waste Management company that processes the trash.
Officials on the line, hesitant to offer much hope, said that Brian was welcome to come and search. So he did. Brian arrived at the county dump, suited up in a protective vest, suit and goggles, and, alongside plant worker Joel Ryan who leveled the trash with a bulldozer for easier searching, started to make his way through the piles where his neighborhood's trash was dumped.
"Nastiness you wouldn't believe," Brian said of the garbage-digging. "It was absolutely disgusting. It stunk beyond belief. The smell was God-awful. Everything unsanitary you could think of crossed my path at least a couple times. I took an extraordinarily long shower and toothbrushes were used."
Then he saw it: a shiny object wedged between two brown bags. After just 30 minutes of searching (the Associated Press says it took 90 minutes), the ring was back in his possession.
"It looked like a screw and I reached down and it looped around my index finger," Brian told the Sun Sentinel. "I was ecstatic. It was like winning the lottery. It was probably one of the best moments ever."
"Perseverance," Brian said of the moral to the lost ring's story. "A lot of people don't find things; it's gone. But I knew I had to try." As for Anna, she doesn't intend on ever taking off the ring again.
This story reminds me of God coming into the world trashed by sinful chaos. He searched through the garbage to retrieve his treasured lost people. He did not come to throw us away but to save us.
2. People have questioned and theorized about Jesus ever since he came on the scene.
a. Good Man
b. Crazy Man
3. Matthew 16.13-18 [3 Slides of Caesarea Philippi
I. Public Opinion Makes an Impression
A. Public Opinion May Be Uninformed Opinion (Matthew 16.13-14)
1. John the Immerser
B. Public Opinion Can Be Swayed
Gene A. Smith, an American historian, authored a book entitled, "When The Cheering Stopped." The book told of Woodrow Wilson, and the events surrounding WWI. At the end of the war, people were optimistic. They believed that the last war had been fought. The dream was that the world had at last been made safe, and the way had been paved for democracy and freedom everywhere.
When Woodrow Wilson paid his first visit to Europe, he was greeted by large crowds, and he was cheered every place he went. In many people's eyes he was more popular than the greatest war heroes throughout the land. He was viewed as an icon of hope.