It was supposed to be the first of many boring meetings about a 28-year transportation plan involving six counties in the Sacramento area. No votes. No money. Just initial information. It was the kind of stuff that made transportation engineers and demographers salivate: reams of detailed projections for population growth, housing and jobs.
30 people showed up. 12 came with an agenda. “His presentation was baloney!” And, “This is a sham!” And “The plans are utopia!” These kind of comments silenced the presenter. The meeting ended. 12 people shouted down six counties.
We’ve all seen a crowd turn on a dime. What begins as peaceful curdles into hostile. Then the minds of individuals shut down, or, rather, they congeal into a kind of group-think (mob?). Few things are more scary than an unfocused, angry crowd. You never know what they’ll do. Neither do they until they do it.
This happened to Jesus in Luke 4. It was supposed to be a typical Sabbath synagogue service. The right forms would be followed. The scroll of Scripture would be unfurled and revered. Jesus made the right moves. He was there. He was reverent. He read what was given to Him. He was thoughtful.
But His application caused the chugging train of community goodwill to derail. “When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath.” (Luke 4.28) They wanted to kill Him. How quickly the worshippers in the synagogue turned into a mob!
Listening to Jesus is not like drinking Pepto Bismol. His words were never intended to merely affirm what we already know and pat us on the head for how we’re already living. Listening to Jesus can be like watching a video of your crime in court. Or listening to Jesus can be like finding out your cancer has been cured.
It all depends. Do you trust Jesus? He does know what He’s talking about … especially when He’s talking about you.