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We Are Not Sheeple


April 24, 2024

Leadership Notes


     After this summer’s sermon series on Obadiah, we’ll move back to the New Testament with Luke. Ligonier Ministries states that, of the four gospels, Luke was R.C. Sproul’s favorite. I did not know that. Sproul, one of the premier American Reformed theologians of the past fifty years, had a favorite gospel. There will be so many delights for us to study, learn, and grow from in Luke.


     Here’s one of my favorite passages:


Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there

by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was

wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was

short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and

climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming

that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to

him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your

house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be

the guest of a sinner.”

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here

and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have

cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the

amount.”

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house,

because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man

came to seek and to save the lost.”

-      Luke 19:1-10


     In about a year, we’ll be looking more in depth at this beautiful encounter. There’s more to it than a backdrop to a children’s Sunday School song. Our focus, for right now, is on what it says about mob mentality. We have so much to learn from Jesus. As I iterated Sunday, we learn the TRUTH.


     In today’s parlance, groups of people can become infected with a mind virus. Or get taken over by the parasitic mind. The concept of the parasitic mind warns of the dangers intellectual pathogens pose to us as individuals and as an open society. In its secular manifestation, the antidote comes in the form of individual courage, rationality, and optimism.


     In other words, don’t be sheeple. Whenever I see mobs forming, I think of three things:


> Intellectual weakness.


> Emotional weakness.


> Moral weakness {wickedness}.


     As a sidenote, former model and now interesting person Adrianne Curry recently said, “I feel seen is the victory cry of communal narcissists. Rather than treat people with mental illnesses…we insist on affirming all of them. Now people are lighting themselves on fire, mutilating their bodies beyond recognition and so on.” I would add to that list, tearing down institutions and cities, violently opposing those with whom one disagrees, and cancelling people for speaking freely.


     Back to Zacchaeus and Jesus. If you remember, before Jesus sees Zacchaeus, he is simply passing through Jericho. He has set his face for Jerusalem, and, eventually, the Cross. But his encounter with Zacchaeus causes a change in plans. He announces he’ll be pausing at the home of Zacchaeus before moving on.


     Now, a simple thing about Zacchaeus. He is a hated tax collector. He is considered a collaborator with Rome. He wants to see Jesus but he knows if he gets too close to the crowd, his physical safety might be in danger. Remember…mob mentality. We see how that plays out in the story of the woman caught in adultery. The crowd wants to stone her to death. But Jesus challenges the mob mentality. He says, “Let the one without sin cast the first stone.” Someone has to act individually. More likely to happen without the parasitic mind.


     So here we are with Zacchaeus. We see two important turns. First, his encounter with Jesus transforms his life. And second, the mob turns their anger toward Jesus. We see the culmination of this in Good Friday.


     What is the answer for mob mentality unfolding today? The answer won’t be found in our feckless national leadership. When people repent of their sin, committing their lives follow Jesus, that’s when mob mentality dies. Devoted followers of Jesus Christ contribute to the health and vitality of their communities. They are not sheeple. They are not infected with a mind virus. In Christ, we contribute in a positive way to our little corner of God’s world. Like Zacchaeus, our lives reflect the grace and mercy that God pours into us.


     And now, your Moment of Spurgeon:


“Are you praising God more and more? If you are not, I am afraid

of one thing, and that is, that you are probably praising him less

and less.”


     With Much Love and Reflection,


                     Richard

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