Friday, July 15, 2011

Bandwagon Fans

Today's passage:  John 12:12-50
     I am a converted Cubs fan.  Actually I am a converted baseball fan.  I never really watched major league baseball before I was married, because it moved too slowly, but I have always been a sports fan in general.  Watching games with my husband in our early years of marriage, convinced me that either I better start enjoying this sport or I would be in for some long nights of boredom.  It wasn't hard to start liking it, especially in the years they were doing great, like 1998, which happened to be our first year of marriage.  The following seasons were a little slower until 2003.  Any baseball fan knows what happened to the Cubs in 2003.  In Game 6, at Wrigley Field, five outs from going to the World Series (they had not been since 1945), an incident with a foul ball flustered the Cubs and cost them the game.  They squandered their opportunity in Game 7 and Cubs fans around the world were heartbroken.  Since 2003, the Cubs made back-to-back appearances in the first round play-offs only to be eliminated after the first three games both times.  This year is the first season I have not watched a single game.  I just became so disillusioned with management decisions, with favorite players being traded, with getting so close and never getting there, that I had to stop watching.  Maybe next year is the Cubs fan motto.  Well, maybe next year I can start watching them again, I just couldn't stomach it this season.  Some might think that I am a bandwagon fan, because I am not watching them while they are losing (and I assure you, they are not having a great season).  I take exception to this.  In thirteen years I have watched plenty of losing seasons.  Would I watch them this year if they were winning? More than likely.  But even genuine fans can get fed up.
     What on earth does all this have to do with the passage in John?  This is the passage of the Triumphal Entry.  It is Passover week.  This means that Jerusalem will be packed with people.  Jews from all over the country (and maybe some other countries) will travel to Jerusalem to worship for the Passover feast.  The marketplace will be brimming with produce to attract customers.  Innkeepers will prepare every vacant room for the influx of guests.  The Temple will be filled to capacity.  Then Jesus comes riding into the busy city on the back of a donkey.  The people see this, many of them followers of Christ, and create a path of palm tree branches and colored coats. 
Jesus Riding in on a Donkey--Taken from Standard Bible Readers, Book Six
By Lillie A. Faris, Illustrated by O.A. Stemler and Bess Bruce Cleaveland
The Standard Publishing Company, 1929
What a sight to see!  If I had been in the market, and heard this commotion, I more than likely would have put down my bag of pistachios to see what was taking place.  If I had been offering up prayers in the Temple, and saw a throng of people gathered at the Jerusalem gate, I may have abandoned my prayer shawl to hear what was happening.  Jesus did have genuine believers in that crowd, but He also had a lot of bandwagon fans who were completely happy with Him when He was performing miracles and challenging the Roman government.  When He said things like He said in verse 32, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." they were not so happy.  They didn't want to think about what He really came to do, because it made no sense to them.  It would be like telling a Cubs fan that her team plays baseball but not for the purpose of going to the World Series.  Verse 34 tells me exactly what the Jews' mindset was, "The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up?  who is this Son of man?"  Now I have a question.  They said they had heard this out of the law.  Usually the law is referring to the first five books of Moses.  Had they read past that?  Did they read the whole Book?  Plenty of places in the prophetic books told them of the death of the Messiah.  Why were they ignoring those parts?  Don't I do this sometimes?  Don't I want to cling to certain passages, and forget about others? 
     I have referred to Philip and Andrew before in one of my other posts, but I need to refer to them again.  After Christ has made his entry, there are some Greeks who want to talk with Jesus.  I'm guessing they are Greek Jews because it says "them that came up to worship at the feast."  To whom do they make their request to address Jesus?  Philip.  He then asks Andrew, and together they tell Jesus about the Greeks desire.  It seems to me, even though Philip and Andrew had different outlooks on life (see my post, Anticipating Andrew, Pessimistic Philip) they were the most approachable of all the disciples.  People felt they could talk to them.  Isn't that the first step in bringing someone closer to Christ?  If a person doesn't feel like she can talk to me, how will I ever be able to share my Lord with her?
     Are these Greek Jews bandwagon fans of Jesus?  Maybe.  They haven't been in this country to see what Jesus has done, although I'm sure His miracles were news fodder throughout Mesopotamia.  They had only heard the highlights, they hadn't seen an actual game.  Maybe that is why when Jesus is entreated here, He responds with His mission to die.  He makes it clear that they will have to be satisfied with the highlight reels, because His miracle work seems to be at an end.  He will be going to His death in a few short days.  Can you imagine the disappointed "Awwww" from these Greeks who wanted to see some action?  What was their real motivation?  Were they true followers or were they just jumping on the bandwagon?
     I'm afraid that even today, Jesus has some bandwagon followers.  They will follow Jesus as long as He is doing something spectacular in their life.  Do I treat Him so callously?  Do I treat Him like I've treated my beloved Cubs this year?  Have I said, "Lord, you haven't done anything for me lately, I will worship you again next year."?  Haven't done anything for me lately?  How about, I saved your soul.  How about, I've given you every breath in your body.  How about, I've let you live in a country of freedom and plenty.  So many blessings, He has given us, and yet some people fail to see them.  Lord, help me never to treat You so lightly.  Help me to never take for granted all that You have done.  Help me not to tune You out when I'm not happy with Your answers.  I want to be Your follower in good times and bad, not just when it looks like You are winning the game.

No comments:

Post a Comment

What is God doing in your life?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...