Bible Reading Blog — March 18, 2016

18 Mar

Today’s Readings — 1 Kings 5-8 & Mark 15:1-15

Never underestimate the power of stirring up a mob. This is what happened when Jesus was sent to Pilate. Barabbas was a notoriously bad character, but when the scribes saw that there was a choice between Jesus and Barabbas, they influenced the crowd to oppose Jesus and support Barabbas.

As I was reading this, my mind turned to our 2016 Presidential Election. So far in the campaign there has been a lot of this kind of activity going on. I’m not making a direct comparison of any candidate to Jesus or even to Barabbas. But what I am seeing is that candidate “A” is out there and he or she is in the public eye and candidate “B” and the supporters of candidate “B” come along and denigrate, bash and otherwise trash candidate “A” to such an extent that the general public feels it is almost criminal to vote for said candidate.

On the flip side, there is a positive spin that is focused much more on style than substance. Some candidates are basing their whole campaigns on celebrity and personality  or the historic nature of their candidacy. Policy specifics are either too vague or too filled with pandering to all the groups a candidate presumably must win to reach their goals. Many candidates this year are trading on anger, not unlike the anger in Mark 15. It is on both sides of the aisle. Voters are angry so the politicians stir up that anger for their own purposes.

The Jewish people of Jesus’ day were angry too. Under the domination of the Roman Empire, having experienced many humiliating defeats in the decades leading up to the time of Jesus, Judea and Galilee in Jesus’ day were ripe for revolution. So there were many incidents of violence and attempted rebellion. Angry mobs were certainly not limited to the experiences of Jesus in Mark 15. The book of Acts shows clearly this mob mentality was not limited to the things Jesus went through in His passion.

I am not saying that the presidential candidates are going to end up crucified but I am saying that the violence we have seen so far will only intensify as long as both parties and their supporters focus on being angry rather than thinking about who is best qualified to lead in ways that will be best for our country.

My word of advice is to beware of the mob mentality. When you hear people say ridiculous things about a candidate, you can count on the mob mentality being firmly in place. When candidates say outlandish things about each other, they are trying to stir up this mob mentality in others.


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