Mat 11:7-11 As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? (8) What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. (9) What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. (10) This is he of whom it is written, “‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’ (11) Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
A friend recently told me about an experience he had years ago when he was at a Bible conference. He said that a very famous preacher was the featured speaker and just before he was about to come on “stage” my friend saw and heard numbers of young seminary students rushing down the aisle to get front row seats. They were excitedly muttering about how so and so was about to speak and they wanted to be right up front close to him.
This is a terrible and widespread evil in the church today. Christian celebrities and their fan clubs. After all the widely publicized sin scandals uncovered among those on high pedestals, you would think we would learn. Apprarently most do not.
I remember having a somewhat similar experience long ago. Another popular and essentially worshipped celebrity of the church was holding a conference on youth ministry. There were many hundreds of people in the audience and of course the thing opened up with what you would expect – pastors and other church leaders trying to be “hip” (I suppose that word evidences me as out of touch. “Woke”? “Lit” Whatever). But they were trying to be “relevant” for the younger people present. And as you can imagine their first opening tactic was to play music soooo loud that it literally vibrated your chest! Words were of course totally unintelligible but we were all told they were fine, Christian words.
At the “intermission” all pastors and youth ministers were requested to come “backstage” to meet with the celeb personally (this of course promotes churches connecting with him and giving more $$$) and so I went back rather reluctantly. What did he have to say? “I want you all to know that I LOVE your kids, and I am going to go out there on that stage in a moment and I am going to LOVE your kids to Jesus!” That said it all for me. The guy oozed arrogance. I have marked him as a phoney ever since.
Now, I would suggest to you that Jesus, in the Scripture quoted above, was confronting the crowds with this very same celebrity motive and mentality.
Mat 11:7 As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? (8) What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses.
You recall that the crowds had gone out into the boondocks to see John the Baptist because the buzz around town was that a prophet, or Elijah, or maybe even the Messiah had shown up. But mostly they went out there not to repent of their sins, not to hear a message about repentance, not to prepare themselves for the way of the Lord. No. They went there for the show. They figured that they wanted in on some temporary excitement that was in reality nothing more than a weed being blown around by wind, but it was exciting and entertaining – a circus if you will.
Jesus then told them who John really was –
(9) What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. (10) This is he of whom it is written, “‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’ (11) Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
What should these crowds have been doing? What should have been their motive? To go out to hear God’s Word preached by His messenger, and then to respond to that message in real repentance and humility, preparing themselves to receive the Messiah who was even then at hand. But they weren’t. They were just like the crowds that ran after Jesus later only in order to get more bread and fish from him for lunch.
Professing Christians go to conferences and concerts. Why? To hear the Word of God? To see Christ more clearly? To repent of their sins? No. They go for the show. They go for an appearance of godliness that is devoid of God’s power. They go for….well, just look at the advertisements for the thing. Big names. Famous names. Going to be there in person. Going to give autographs after the show. And the Lord says of such people that they are nothing more than a weed being shaken by the wind. Those that travel far and wide to see them are fools. “Hey, why did you drive for 4 hours to get here and spend hundreds of dollars for a motel and food and tickets? Oh, well, I heard that a weed was going to be shaking and I just had to see it.
But all of this is far worse than stupidity. It is sheer disobedience to the Lord. It is a means the enemy uses over and over to plant his evil servants among us and delude us and enslave us. It feeds the oppression of the weak and innocent. It promotes a false gospel and takes people to hell. It scandalizes Christ’s name to the world – how many of these famous ones are going to be found out before this year even ends – that they were fakes and perverts and abusers all along?
And so we are reminded once again:
2Ti 3:5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
Avoid such people. STOP seeking them out.
1Co 2:1-3 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. (2) For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (3) And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling,