The Problem With Popular Opinion

It is amazing to me how much we are all influenced by the thinking of others. We may like to think we are independent thinkers but if we are honest we’d realize how much our thinking is shaped by our culture. It is also shaped by what is known and shared about a person, whether true or not. This means someone can go from popular to disgraced in a matter of days. This exact thing happened to Christ as He walked on this earth.

This can be seen most clearly in the last week of Jesus’ life. In one of my studies this past week we covered Mark chapter 11. This is the chapter in which Jesus makes His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. One could argue that this was the pinnacle of His popularity on earth. As he rode into Jerusalem a crowd was following Him and a crowd was also coming out ahead to meet Him. There was shouting and singing and treatment fit for a King. People were excited by His marvelous works (He had just raised Lazarus) and His powerful words. As Jesus rode into town the people quoted from Psalm 118 to praise Him saying, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” He was so popular at this time that even though the leaders wanted to kill Him they couldn’t for fear of the massive mob of followers.

Little did the worshippers realize that their use of this Psalm was actually prophetic of their rejection of Him later in the week. This Psalm would go on to talk about the rejection of the Messiah. “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone” (Ps. 118:22). The same massive crowds that were treating Jesus like a King rejected Him so completely less than a week later that they shouted for his crucifixion and for the release of a murderer rather than Jesus. Mark is careful to tell us that it was the chief priests and leaders that stirred up the crowds (Mk. 15:11). How sad that because of false testimony from jealous and greedy leaders a crowd could be persuaded to kill a man that they had loved less than a day before. THIS is the power of mob mentality.

This article is not about giving celebrities a fair hearing, though it is wise to let all information come out before making a judgment. What I am most concerned about is letting our religion be a thoughtful and careful one rather than a religion moved by what is popular. New ideas and charismatic leaders come and go often, but the truth remains the same. The Christian must engage their mind in serious study and thought to avoid getting swept up along with the crowd. Paul warns the Ephesians of this very thing. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4:14).             Work to become grounded in your faith so that you will know the difference between truth and error. God will be glorified and you will be even more useful to the cause of the Kingdom.