Watercolour (Gouache) Portrait of Roberta, 104 years old © Ross Cochane

Watercolour (Gouache) portrait of Roberta. Her middle name is Stevenson named after her Mother’s best friend who died in The Great War in the street.
Roberta was born in Scotland and migrated to Australia when she was 9 years old. She came across from Scotland in a ship called the Themistocles. She remembers the name of the ship! It took 6 weeks to get here.

Roberta is 104 in December. She trained as a contortionist, ballet dancer and acrobat. She worked for the Tivoli and Regent theatres and during the war, performed for the armed forces.

She has poor eyesight now but still enjoys large print murder mysteries. She could just see her portrait and loved it. I had to explain that the other person in the painting was her reflection.

She has faith in God and enjoys conversation and prayer.
I have painted her looking out of the window to represent this era of COVID 19. During the first few years of her life, another pandemic swept the world – the Spanish flu.

Pastor Ross

For information on the TSS Themistocles – see http://passengersinhistory.sa.gov.au/node/937371

The Stone that the builders rejected © Image created by Ross Cochrane using Blender 2.8 Cycles Render


The next day, on the train, the Marketing Manager and the Christ Follower resume their conversation. Previously …

MARKETING MANAGER: We can learn a lot about what not to do in Marketing from Jesus. He made so many mistakes.

I’ve already told you His first 10 mistakes. We were talking about communication failures of Jesus. Number 9 was…



and Number 11 is…


MARKETING MANAGER: In Matthew 21:33-46 Jesus communicates a story of Negative Marketing. Essentially He tells a story to criticise His perceived opponents instead of trying to get their support.

He tells the story of a business owner who hires some experienced people to work in his vineyard business while he travels. At the end of the financial year, He sends some of his accountants to collect on the agreed percentage of the profits. This is where He could have talked about incredible profits and use this story as a Marketing tool to encourage opponents to join in a profits sharing deal. But He doesn’t. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: But that’s not the point of the story. He says the workers beat up the delegation and even killed one of the business owners employees. The owner sent a larger delegation to collect for him, but the results were the same.  “Finally, the owner sends his son, thinking, ‘Surely they will respect my son.’  “But when the workers see his son coming, they say to one another, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Come on, let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’  So they grab him, drag him off the premises, and murder him. 

MARKETING MANAGER: And that’s where He makes a mistake in Marketing Himself. If you want to Market yourself, keep your message POSITIVE. Don’t let your message come across negatively. 

It is not a good idea in marketing to talk about your competitors’ failings, criticizing everything your opponent hasn’t done well in order to boost credibility for your own product. 

Jesus spoke about His competitors as “murderers”. A man’s son being murdered by his competitors is NOT a very positive message at all, especially in a house of worship. And there were children around. This is where the Prince of Peace image and the Jesus, meek and mild image needs to come to the fore, but Jesus tells a story about them that is like a violent video game. 

Statistics show that focusing attention on your competitors shortcomings doesn’t work when you are trying to market yourself. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: What are you talking about? This is a parable to give hard-hearted religious leaders the opportunity to repent of their sins, not about a Negative Marketing campaign against His competitors. 

People were very familiar with the image of a vineyard. Look at the components of this story…

First there is the VINEYARD.The owner is God who develops the vineyard with care. The vineyard represents the Kingdom of God: the sphere of His authority in the lives of His people because of their belief, a place where the Gospel message is to be planted in the hearts of people and people are given hope, identity and purpose.

Then there are the WORKERS. God leases the vineyard to workers, representing the people of Israel, including these self-righteous leaders of the community, who abused the privilege they had been given. They were meant to be God’s servants but they were corrupt. They were in it for themselves.

Then there are SERVANTS OF THE OWNER, those sent to collect the profits for the owner who were mistreated. These were the prophets who came along to encourage giving God what belongs to God. They were rejected by Israel and by these leaders of the community… prophets such as John the Baptist who called people to repent and follow Jesus. 

Then there is the SON and the Son is Jesus Himself, the Messiah, who would be murdered by these very leaders. Jesus would die for their sins and ours. He tried to warn them of the consequences of unbelief.

“When the owner of the vineyard returns,” Jesus asks, “what do you think he will do to those farmers?”  They reply that the owner, “… will put the wicked men to a horrible death and lease the vineyard to others who will give him his share of the crop after each harvest.” 

The Pharisees condemn themselves when they answer Jesus’ question. It took them a while to realise that Jesus was talking about them. They were the ones who were against God’s Son. They wanted to arrest Jesus because He threatened their authority.

MARKETING MANAGER: So you admit that these are Jesus key competitors? 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: From their point of view, Yes. They think they are competitors but they do not realise that no-one can be compared to Jesus or compete with Him. There is no competition. This is not about competition, but about Salvation. Jesus is encouraging these hard-hearted businessmen to believe in His message and admit that He is the only Way, Truth and Life (John 14:6).

MARKETING MANAGER: But then Jesus gives another Negative Marketing message in Matthew 21:42-44. Jesus asks them, “Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures? ‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.’ I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation that will produce the proper fruit. Anyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.” 

There He goes again with Negative Marketing. He tells His competitors that their business will fail if they try to go against Him. He will crush them if they try. This is bordering on hate speech, a threat against their lives. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: No! Just the opposite. Jesus compares these religious leaders to builders who reject the very stone that holds the whole building together. They wanted to have a Messianic kingdom but they refused to believe that it rested on Christ alone. They wanted to rule the kingdom of God themselves and protect their own selfish interests. They were willing to do anything to keep a hold on their power, but it would be taken from them because of their own self-righteous attitudes.

Jesus tried to warn them that killing Him would have consequences. Everyone understood that the Chief Cornerstone referred to the coming Messiah. Without Him, everything would fall apart. Everyone knew that Jesus was speaking about the obstinate unbelief of the religious leaders.  Even the religious leaders understood what He was saying.

Matthew 21 ends with these unfortunate words. “When the leading priests and Pharisees heard this parable, they realized He was telling the story against them—they were the wicked farmers. They wanted to arrest Him, but they were afraid of the crowds, who considered Jesus to be a prophet. (Matthew 21:45, 46 NLT)

They just didn’t get it. 

MARKETING MANAGER: Yes, they did miss it, didn’t they. You know, it has just occurred to me that Jesus is talking about Himself as the stone that the builders rejected. He’s trying to say that belief in Him is the key stone which will hold the rest of their lives together. They were good at Marketing their Power, but it was power with no substance which would ultimately collapse. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Did I just hear you right? 

MARKETING MANAGER: Yes, and if I have been hearing you right, it seems Jesus WAS good at Marketing Himself after all, because He was the Messiah, the coming One who would save people, not according to an outward image of power but an inward insight of peace with God… faith… trust in Christ. They needed Jesus to save them from their own sinfulness, corruption and self-righteousness. 

And if that’s true and I think it is, then it doesn’t only have implications for them, but for all people, including me. I am starting to think that it doesn’t only depend on marketing my image, but on humbling myself to find my identity in Christ. Jesus wasn’t fighting against them but pleading with them to believe the truth about Him.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: You amaze me. I think you finally understand. Jesus wasn’t fighting a war of words but a war for souls, your soul included. He died for my sins and yours. The Easter message is that He rose again so that you could experience a resurrection on the inside by trusting yourself to Him. 

I think you finally understand that it’s not about Marketing, but faith.

MARKETING MANAGER: No, you’re wrong. I think I finally get it about faith AND marketing. I have a whole new Marketing plan. Jesus had it right all along…

  • Don’t tell people who you are? Let your life and example lead others to know you.
  • Humble yourself before God and allow Him to give you the platform that will best serve Him as well as others.
  • Show compassion for people and share the hope you have in Christ
  • Be discerning as to how you use your finances and avoid any taint of corruption. 
  • When challenged, stand up for what you believe in such a way as to give others the opportunity to respond to the message of the Gospel.
  • Be generous with your time, and resources. Freely you have received, freely give.
  • Accept that not everyone will like you, so seek to please God rather than people
  • Leave people with a good impression, but not a false impression
  • Refuse to live life on the defensive. Be proactive, creative and find your purpose in Christ.
  • Tell your story in such a way that those who are interested will listen.
  • Be positive but not at the expense of the Truth.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Now that’s the best marketing strategy I have heard in a long time. And the best Easter Message also. God has certainly transformed your approach. The cornerstone that holds it all together is Christ. Would you like to pray a prayer of trust in Christ?

MARKETING MANAGER: Here in the bus? … Well, yes. I think I need to pray. I might need your help. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Of course. Why don’t you repeat these simple words of faith after me. Lord Jesus, … I know that I am a sinner, … and I ask for Your forgiveness… I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead…. I turn from my sins… and invite You to come into my heart and life…. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Saviour. Amen.

MARKETING MANAGER: You’ve missed your stop.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Yes, but I haven’t missed your start. I think I’ll stay on the bus for a while. 

Pastor Ross

Marie © Gouache Watercolour Painting by Ross Cochrane 2020

This is my Portrait of Marie. Marie was born during a Pandemic and I have painted her portrait during another.

She was born in 1919. Her mother fell sick with the Spanish Flu, but survived, as did Marie. During those war torn years, and times of hardship, her father became an alcoholic and Marie always felt sorry for him.

Marie grew up in Sydney, Australia and remembers her uncle who she loved and respected. Her mother died when she was twenty. Her father died soon after.

She became an accountant for many years until she met her husband, a good man who died only 6 years ago at the same Aged Care Facility that she is in.

Marie has a son who has been able to visit her by means of a kind of cage set up at the side of the building in order to keep social distancing. With restrictions lifting, I told her that the cage was being removed. She said she was sorry to see it go as she has some good memories from her son’s visits. She said, “I loved that cage”. She said she has 4 grandsons although I think this may be 4 great grandsons.

She was not a great sportsperson but remembers playing at the same courts as Margaret Court. She knew Margaret quite well.

Marie remembers the times when Catholics and Protestants would walk down different sides of the streets to go to Church. She asks me what I think about Cardinal Pell and keeps up to date with what is happening in the world.

Painting Marie’s portrait has given me important opportunities to touch base with her. After she saw her portrait she said, “You have made my day”.

Ross Cochrane

Pastor and Chaplain


Unclear Communication © Images created by Ross Cochrane using Blender 2.8

The next day, on the train, the Marketing Manager and the Christ Follower resume their conversation. Previously …

MARKETING MANAGER: We can learn a lot about what not to do in Marketing from Jesus. He made so many mistakes.

I’ve already told you His first 9 mistakes. We started to talk about Communication, which is an important part of Marketing Yourself. You can’t afford to …


In Matthew 21 Jesus continues to show His incompetence with Marketing Himself. He begins speaking in riddles that make no real sense. You can’t afford to be unclear in communicating your message when you are seeking to Market yourself.

Jesus gets right off the point and starts talking about a family owned vineyard business. He is not running a vineyard! This is irrelevant to Marketing and only serves to distract the crowd and exasperate the community leaders. 

You can’t afford to be unclear. Big mistake.  

CHRIST FOLLOWER: It seems fairly clear to me what He is trying to communicate to these leaders. He says in Matthew 21:28-31 (NLT), “But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway. Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he didn’t go. “Which of the two obeyed his father?” They replied, “The first.” 

MARKETING MANAGER: What has this got to do with anything? Jesus has the attention of important community leaders. They ask Him about His credentials and instead of answering them, He talks in riddles. Jesus goes on to give some obscure meaning and uses it to insult these respected leaders in front of the crowd. This won’t earn Him any points.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: This is not an obscure parable, but very clear. In Matthew 21:31-32 Jesus explains His meaning very clearly to these corrupt leaders: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do. For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but you didn’t believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to believe him and repent of your sins. 

Think about it. What Jesus is saying is that the Vineyard represents 2 kinds of people… 

  • self-righteous religious people and 
  • a whole lot of other people who know they were sinners in the sight of God. 

Like THE FIRST SON who initially disobeyed and then chose to turn around and obey, it is the people who are aware of their disobedience to God and then choose to obey Him who eventually find the way for God to transform their lives. 

John the Baptist preached a message of repentance and the religious leaders rejected the clear message that John the Baptist preached. They were like THE SECOND SON who pretended to be obedient and then ignored their Father. 

MARKETING MANAGER: So He insults them with a war of words. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: No. Jesus isn’t interested in a war of words. He is fighting a war for their souls. He is not insulting them, but allowing them to come to the conclusion that they need to repent and allow God to transform their lives, to obey what God is trying to say to them. Admitting we are sinners and need the Saviour is our only hope for salvation.  

Psalms 95:7-8 (NLT2) says, “Don’t harden your hearts…”

Romans 3:22-25 (NLT2) says, “We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For EVERYONE has sinned; we ALL fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding His blood….”

MARKETING MANAGER: Telling people they are sinners and need to repent isn’t a good marketing message, especially when it’s directed at people who have all the authority in the community. Look at the next parable. It’s just as obscure and just as insulting and it leads to another mistake Jesus made in marketing Himself. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: It will have to wait. My stop again. Catch up soon.

MARKETING MANAGER: Once again I look forward to sharing with you about WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 10)

Pastor Ross.


You have messages © Image created by Ross Cochrane on Blender 2.8

The next day, on the train, the Marketing Manager and the Christ Follower resume their conversation. Previously …

MARKETING MANAGER: We can learn a lot about what not to do in Marketing from Jesus. He made so many mistakes.

I’ve already told you His first 8 mistakes. We were talking about how Jesus wasn’t environmentally friendly. But Jesus also failed in marketing Himself well because at times He would, 


MARKETING MANAGER: In Matthew 21:23 (NLT) “When Jesus returned to the Temple and began teaching, the leading priests and elders came up to Him. They demanded, “By what authority are You doing all these things? Who gave You the right?” 

Communication is crucial in marketing yourself. Here is a perfect opportunity for Jesus to communicate well but once again, He misses it. The leaders of the community were interested in what He was doing and wanted to understand what He wanted to accomplish. They had seen the Temple cleared and people who had been blind and lame healed. Now they wanted to know more. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Wait a minute. They had no interest in understanding Him. They were confronting Him. They were self-righteous hypocrites. They treated Christ with contempt. They questioned His authority. They tried to interrogate Him, to trap Him and He refuses to let them (Matthew 21:23-27).

Jesus was praised by the people, He cleansed the temple, He healed people who were blind and lame, and children recognised Him as the Messiah. This only infuriated the leaders. 

They weren’t seeking to understand who Jesus was by asking this question? Far from it. Their own positions of authority were being challenged. They had closed minds and hard hearts. They were looking for an opportunity to get rid of Him because they were threatened and felt humiliated because He showed them up for who they were.

They rudely interrupt His teaching and confront Him by saying “By what authority are You doing all these things? Who gave You the right?” 

They didn’t even wait to listen to what He was teaching. Their unbelief treated Jesus with contempt, not with a desire to understand. Their unbelief immediately questioned His authority. 

MARKETING MANAGER: And that’s all the more reason why He needed to communicate well.  These people are the guardians and administrators of the Temple. Important people wanting to clarify who Jesus was and His message. They asked a simple question. Clear communication would have helped Him greatly, but He refuses to answer. He takes the phone off the hook and plays word games with them.  If you want to market yourself well, you need to be clear in your communication, not silent. 

You have Voicemail © Image by Ross Cochrane

Jesus is given the opportunity to reveal where His power really comes from and instead refuses to share it with people in high places. He refused to get His Name in front of the experts. His answer could have been informative, timely, and valuable to all those around Him who were listening, but once again He misses His opportunity.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: You haven’t relayed the full story. Here is what happened. In Matthew 21:24-27 Jesus says, “I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replies.  “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human?” 

MARKETING MANAGER: There, you see. He’s off on a tangent instead of answering their question. Jesus refuses to communicate but instead talks about John the Baptist – some kind of wildcard, so called prophet, a man with long hair dressed in camel’s hair who ate locusts and wild honey, a tea-totaler who preached out in the wilderness. What has John the Baptist got to do with anything?  He is getting off on a tangent instead of answering their question. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: John the Baptist has everything to do with it. John was accepted by the crowd as a prophet and he had pointed to Jesus as the Messiah. In John 1:29-34 (NLT) John the Baptist saw Jesus, and said to the people, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! He is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘A man is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for He existed long before me.’ I did not recognize Him as the Messiah, but I have been baptizing with water so that He might be revealed to Israel.”

Then John testified, “I saw the Holy Spirit descending like a dove from heaven and resting upon Him. I didn’t know He was the One, but when God sent me to baptize with water, He told me, ‘The One on whom you see the Spirit descend and rest is the One who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I saw this happen to Jesus, so I testify that He is the Chosen One of God.”

MARKETING MANAGER: Well at least John the Baptist is a pretty good Marketing Manager. At least he didn’t to refuse to communicate.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: All the people in the Temple that day were waiting for the Religious leaders to affirm John the Baptist as a prophet and in doing so they would have to acknowledge that Jesus was the Messiah with authority from heaven. 

MARKETING MANAGER: But Jesus refuses to communicate that He is the One whom John was talking about. This would have made it so much easier.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: These religious leaders also refused to communicate. Instead of acknowledging that Jesus has authority from God, the religious leaders  …  talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, He will ask us why we didn’t believe John. But if we say it was merely human, we’ll be mobbed because the people believe John was a prophet.” So they finally replied, “We don’t know.”” They refused to be honest with Jesus. “And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things. 

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly! He left them in the dark. Why not simply tell them who He was instead of closing off? When you are marketing yourself, you need to get straight to the point and be willing to answer questions people are asking, … like John the Baptist.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: When Jesus refuses to answer their questions He exposes these leaders and the fact that they have no authority themselves. They could not affirm John’s authority without condemning themselves for their unbelief. I think He communicated very well and this allowed the people to decide for themselves who Jesus was. Jesus gives them ample opportunity to repent.

MARKETING MANAGER: I can’t accept that rudely cutting off communication is a good marketing technique. It looks like he’s trying to hide something. Which leads me to the next marketing mistake that Jesus made. Not only does Jesus refuse to communicate but ….

CHRIST FOLLOWER: This is my stop and we will have to resume our conversation later.

MARKETING MANAGER: Once again I look forward to continuing our conversation on Matthew 21 – WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 9)

Pastor Ross

Fig Tree Marketing – © Image by Ross Cochrane with Blender 2.8


The next day, on the train, the Marketing Manager and the Christ Follower resume their conversation. Previously …

MARKETING MANAGER: We can learn a lot about what not to do in Marketing from Jesus. He made so many mistakes.

I’ve already told you His first 7 mistakes. Now His 8th mistake. If you want to make a big mistake in Marketing Yourself then…


MARKETING MANAGER: In Matthew 21:19 (NLT) it says, when Jesus “noticed a fig tree beside the road, He went over to see if there were any figs, but there were only leaves. Then He said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” And immediately the fig tree withered up.” 

Jesus destroyed the fig tree. Why? It was not bearing fruit so He killed it. Do you know how much those trees are worth? He would be in a lot of trouble with His local council today for doing this if He had been in Australia, especially a Morton Bay Fig, and it would not go down well in the community. You have to be circumspect with your words and with your actions. This is just plain destructive. He didn’t even plant some new trees.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: I think He was using the tree as a powerful lesson. 

MARKETING MANAGER: Even if He was using the fig tree as a lesson, what does it say? If you don’t bear fruit, you’ll go to hell? He has got to get some kind of control on His anger. First He overturns the tables of the moneychangers, then He gets the religious community leaders offside. Then He takes it out on the environment. This is no way to market yourself. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: This is where you need to realise something about Jesus. The Messiah has absolute power over ALL the physical universe. He alone has the power to judge and to determine fruitfulness and unfruitfulness, life and death, salvation and condemnation. Connection to Christ is a powerful thing. In Matthew 17:20 (NLT) Jesus had already told His disciples, “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”

MARKETING MANAGER: Now, right there, He almost got it right. That’s a much better slogan, “Mountain Moving Marketing” but not “Mustard Seed Marketing.” “Nothing is impossible Marketing” has a ring to it, but certainly not  “Fig Tree Faith” – Faith that kills fig trees and destroys our environment to make some obscure point about bearing fruit. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: You don’t get it. Jesus comes to many people like He came to that fig tree, expecting to find fruit but instead He finds only leaves – a false impression of a spiritual life, no faith, no spiritual authority to do anything for God.

This was true of the money changers and the religious leaders in the Temple. Just leaves! No fruit that could nourish anyone, let alone please God. Just trying to impress others but not God. 

MARKETING MANAGER: Marketing Yourself depends on giving a good impression.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: But hopefully not a false impression. The Fig Tree is a good picture of anyone who thinks that making a good impression is better than finding and living out a genuine faith in Christ. 

It’s no use being ritualistic but deceptively empty of any profession of faith. Spirituality that is dependent on ritual rather than relationship with God is false. Nothing but leaves! Christ indicates from His actions and words that false spirituality will eventually bring its own curse. A withered up fig tree is at least more honest than giving a false impression of fruitfulness. 

MARKETING MANAGER: That doesn’t change the fact that Jesus’ actions towards the environment were offensive to the community.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Have you considered that people who are phony, simply giving a good impression on the outside, sanctimonious but not genuine, are offensive to God like the fig tree with leaves but no fruit. Not only barren but hypocritical and false. True faith can accomplish incredible results in a person’s life – mountain moving faith. Empty faith only brings its own curse, a withered life on the inside. 

Leaves but no fruit © Image created by Ross Cochrane with Blender 2.8

Hebrews 11:6 (Message) says, “It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that He exists and that He cares enough to respond to those who seek Him.”

MARKETING MANAGER: That leads me to the way you communicate and the 9th Marketing mistake made by Jesus.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: (Sarcastically) I can’t wait to hear but this is my stop.

MARKETING MANAGER: I am so pleased that you are interested. This will really help you. I will look forward to sharing more of WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 8)

Pastor Ross

Barbed Wire Marketing © Image created by Ross Cochrane using Blender 2.8


The next day, on the train, the Marketing Manager and the Christ Follower resume their conversation. Previously …

MARKETING MANAGER: We can learn a lot about what not to do in Marketing from Jesus. He made so many mistakes.

I’ve already told you His first 6 mistakes. 




and number 7 is …


When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, He had the perfect opportunity to get the religious big shots and experts of the law on-side with Him. But Jesus didn’t seek to be popular with the thought leaders of His day. Big mistake! Marketing is based on who you know as well as what you know. You’ve got to get your name in front of people who can give you opportunities. 

In Matthew 21:10 it says, “The entire city of Jerusalem was in an uproar as He entered. “Who is this?” they asked.” 

This is when He needed to introduce Himself and to ask the religious and community leaders for assistance in what He was trying to achieve, but He missed it. Barbed wire marketing.

Instead, He causes an uproar in the city and doesn’t even apologise! He’s out of His depth here. He needs these leaders. His popularity has suddenly gone viral but He is socially inept. It’s like thinking it is not necessary to focus on the media tools such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Jesus is definitely not socially inept! He doesn’t relate to  these religious and community leaders because they are spiritually inept

MARKETING MANAGER: He’s all over the news but then He turns against the very leaders of the community who could help Him.You don’t disconnect with the very people who can help you. This could be seen as Trump-like behaviour and Trump was impeached by the people he annoyed. Jesus seemed intent in getting the experts off-side. He had the opportunity to create a network of like-minded people in His own field. 

Look at Matthew 21:15 (NLT). “The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the children in the Temple shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David.” BUT THE LEADERS WERE INDIGNANT.” 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Exactly! They didn’t get what Jesus was trying to accomplish anymore than you do. 

MARKETING MANAGER: Instead of choosing disciples who never really understood what was going on, He could have connected deeply with the teachers of religious law and got to know them as friends and colleagues. This would have been a great move if He wanted to market Himself properly. Genuine expertise is always drawn to other experts, and in their company you can open up a whole world of new possibilities, but Jesus missed His opportunity to connect. He rejected them.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: He didn’t reject them. They rejected Him. He had just healed people who were blind and lame. Wonderful miracles! Yet they, like you, became one of the Lord’s critics! They were aggravated by His wonderful acts of mercy. 

It seems incredible that anyone could be critical! Jesus had restored the Temple to be a house of prayer, praise, worship and healing but the leading priests preferred money changers and corrupt business deals instead. 

Why would Jesus want to cater to these Religious leaders and experts in the law. They wanted to kill Him?

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly! You don’t mess with the Senate. They wanted to kill Him. But they wouldn’t have wanted to kill Him if He had marketed Himself well. Jesus missed His opportunity. He deliberately gets them offside and that was His downfall. He antagonized the experts, and so couldn’t expect that they would want to do anything for Him. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: You have completely missed the point. He didn’t want anything from them. Matthew 20:28 (NLT) says “… the Son of Man (Jesus) came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

He came to die for our sins, even for those corrupt leaders who wanted to kill Him and for Marketing Managers like you. 

MARKETING MANAGER: If only I had been there I could have saved Him from having to die at all. I know how to talk and bargain with business people and leaders. If only He had cleared the Temple of these annoying children  who were stirring things up, He could have gotten somewhere. Instead He clears the business people.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: The leading priests and you have missed it, but the children didn’t. A place of worship should be a place where wonderful things are to be done for God and by God. They saw the miracles and shouted “Praise God for the Son of David” (Matthew 21:15 NLT). “Son of David” is a term that referred to Jesus as the Messiah. The harmonies of heaven expressed in the praise of children drown out the discordant indignation of the leading priests.

This would be their last opportunity to trust in Christ but instead they rejected Him and objected to the miracles and praise of children. Jesus calmly protected these children from their unconcealed hatred.In Matthew 21:16 (NLT), “They asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” “Yes,” Jesus replied. “Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, ‘You (Lord God) have taught children and infants to give You praise.’” 

Jesus calls for praise that reaches outside of our personal selfishness, position, desires for recognition and authority. Worship that touches the heart of God is worship that recognises Jesus for who He is; His authority and position as the Son of David, Messiah, Son of God, King of kings and Lord of all. The children made the connection. 

In Luke 18:17 (NLT) Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”

MARKETING MANAGER: I never recommend to people that they work with children or animals. Jesus rides in on a donkey and receives praise from children. He consistently breaks the rules of good marketing practice. Then once He gets the religious experts offside He simply leaves and heads off to Bethany. 

Which brings me to His Eighth Marketing Mistake…  

CHRIST FOLLOWER: (Shakes head) It will have to wait til next time. Here’s my stop.

MARKETING MANAGER: I will look forward to the next conversation we have in WHAT NOT TO DO IN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 7)

Pastor Ross

The Price is Paid © Image created by Ross Cochrane on Blender 2.8 and GetPaint.net


The next day, on the train, the Marketing Manager and the Christ Follower resume their conversation. Previously …

MARKETING MANAGER: We can learn a lot about what not to do in Marketing from Jesus. He made so many mistakes.

I’ve already told you His first 5 mistakes…






And now sixthly,


Jesus was much too generous but obviously did not show much business savvy. Freebie marketing is OK but He devalued His product by giving everything away for free. He had so many opportunities to Market Himself…

  • There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but Jesus fed 5000 people one time with a sea food meal without charging anything! He could have given some appetisers for free or asked people to buy one meal and get one free. He could have even turned water into wine, but for a price. This could have been the start of an incredible Loaves and Fishes restaurant franchise. 
  • On the side He could have provided a Protection scheme for farmers by stilling storms, but for a price.
  • He could have given an occasional freebie to the poor but this needs to be token support rather than targeted and needs to be covered well by the media.
  • Doctors earn a lot of money. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem in Matthew 21, what a difference He could have made if He had NOT cleansed the temple. 

Jesus missed His opportunity to set up a table with the moneychangers and for a price, heal all common colds, broken or lame legs, blindness, leprosy, cancer and Covid-19. This would have attracted more business for everyone. Win Win! 

Now if He had done all that, He would have had something to boast about, but He didn’t. He missed it.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: I can’t believe you are saying this! Jesus healed those who were blind and lame. It had nothing to do with some kind of business opportunity. This is God’s compassion given freely. 

This was a place of worship. Where people gather together for worship there will be spiritual healing of hearts and He provided healing of bodies, miraculously and freely. People come to worship and pray because they realise they need spiritual healing, not to make money.

Jesus was not only concerned about cleansing the Temple of corrupt money changers but about cleansing hearts, including your heart and mine, and there is NO COST INVOLVED. Romans 6:23 (NLT) says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the FREE GIFT of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Paul says to Christ followers in Ephesians 2:8-9 “God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is A GIFT FROM GOD. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”

We are not able to pay such a cost as He paid when He died on the Cross for our sins. The price has already been paid for us.

He even gave the Religious leaders a chance to repent and find peace and forgiveness with God. Instead they were indignant. 

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly! That leads me to the 6th Marketing mistake, but unfortunately this is your stop so I look forward to sharing the Marketing mistakes Jesus made in WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 6)

Pastor Ross

Brood of Vipers © Image Created by Ross Cochrane on Blender 2.8 and GetPaint.net


The next day, on the train, the Marketing Manager and the Christ Follower resume their conversation. Previously …

MARKETING MANAGER: We can learn a lot about what not to do in Marketing from Jesus. He made so many mistakes.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: I’m sorry but it is you who are mistaken. Jesus wasn’t interested in Marketing Himself. He wasn’t a CEO of a company or trying to get followers on Facebook. Millions of people still need to know Christ personally, but He wasn’t interested in your marketing strategies….

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly! He missed His opportunities to be popular and create His niche market. I’ve already told you His first 3 mistakes




And now fourthly,


MARKETING MANAGER: Jesus actually discouraged those who could have helped Him financially. Think about it. Once, He even suggested to a rich young ruler who wanted to follow Him, “…go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me” (Matthew 19:21 NLT). This young man could have supported Him, but instead, Jesus turned Him away by asking him to do something ridiculous. You don’t do this. This shows a distinct lack of financial acumen and Marketing prowess.

But then look at Matthew 21:12 (NLT)! It says “Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves.” 

Another lost opportunity. If only He had gained favour with the small business people, He could have had financial backing for any enterprise He wanted. 

At the very peak of popularity with the people who were proclaiming Him to be the Messiah, He destroys His credibility by causing a public disturbance in the very place He needed the backing. 

All hope of financial assistance was destroyed in one foul stroke. He could have set up a Patreon funding system but once again missed His opportunity.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Jesus was not interested in their money! He walks into the outer court of the temple, a place for people of all nations to meet with God in worship, praise, and prayer. Instead He finds a commercial business centre filled with people taking advantage of one another for profit. 

The Temple was not meant to be a place of business but worship! So Jesus drove them all out, overturning their tables.  “He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”” (Matthew 21:12,13 NLT).

They were abusing the purpose of God’s Temple. They were exploiting others by their business deals and they made it impossible for people to use this place to worship God. According to historians, Annas, the former high priest, was the CEO of this lucrative business enterprise, assisted by his sons.

They really were what He called them, “A den of thieves”

MARKETING MANAGER: Which leads me to His 5th major error Jesus made in Marketing. 


Calling this group of businessmen a “Den of thieves” certainly didn’t endear Himself to them in anyway. Jesus really took it too far sometimes and got Himself a bad reputation. 

On one occasion He saw some Pharisees and Sadducees coming to watch Him baptize people and He denounced them. “You brood of snakes!” He exclaimed. “Who warned you to flee the coming wrath?” (Matthew 3:7, 12:34).

It’s not a good impression to make, calling leaders of His community a brood of snakes and telling them they will go to hell, even if you know this to be true. Israel Filau made the same mistake and was crucified for his remarks as well. 

On another occasion Jesus embarrassed more community leaders saying, “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity” (Matthew 23:27 NLT). This didn’t help to market His brand. It isolated Him from the very people that could have helped His cause.

Every single sentence you speak and every action communicates a message to the world. If you are going to protect your brand, you need to protect your reputation. You can’t go around saying and doing what you think is right all the time. You’ll have the city in uproar (Matthew 21:10). Just as a good organization protects its brand, protect your reputation by being intentional and circumspect about the words you speak and the actions you perform. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Jesus is not afraid to tell the truth about corrupt business people and spiritually impoverished religious leaders of Jerusalem.  

You can see His heart in what happened next. After He restored the outer temple to be a place of prayer and worship, He was able to make it a place of ministry.  Matthew 21:14 (NLT) says “The blind and the lame came to Him in the Temple, and He healed them.” 

MARKETING MANAGER: Another mistake. His 6th major error in Marketing. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: We will have to continue this conversation again tomorrow. This is my stop.

MARKETING MANAGER: I am so pleased you would like to continue learning about WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 5). 

Pastor Ross

Hope like an Anchor © Image created by Ross Cochrane using Blender 2.8 and GetPaint.net


On the train the Marketing Manager and the Christ Follower resume their conversation. Previously…

MARKETING MANAGER: We can learn a lot about what not to do in Marketing from Jesus. He made so many mistakes.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: I’m sorry but it is you who are mistaken. Jesus wasn’t interested in Marketing Himself. He wasn’t a CEO of a company or trying to get followers on Facebook. Millions of people still need to know Christ personally, but He wasn’t interested in your marketing strategies….

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly! He missed His opportunities to be popular and create His niche market. I’ve already told you His first 2 mistakes



And now thirdly


In Luke 19:41-44 (NLT) it says that  “… as they came closer to Jerusalem and Jesus saw the city ahead, He began to weep. “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes. Before long your enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you from every side. They will crush you into the ground, and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you did not accept your opportunity for salvation.”

Luke 19 just proves my point. You don’t send out a tweet like that if you want to market yourself. You don’t tell people that it’s too late for them. Jesus obviously didn’t believe in Jerusalem. How could Jerusalem believe in Him? He thought there was no hope for them.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Now wait a minute. Jesus was their only hope and they missed it! So have you. Magnificent Jerusalem! Beautiful to behold as a city of spires was spiritually falling apart as if moved by an unseen earthquake of souls. 

When even God weeps over a city… what hope is left but Christ Himself? What dissonance existed between such an outward wonder of the world that was Jerusalem and the corrupted, crumbling hearts of people. 

Within 50 years this outward magnificence would be razed to the ground and reflect more accurately the bereft state of its people. And by then the spiritual hope of a nation depended not on city spires or a temple or even a Roman emperor but upon a simple faith in what Christ, the King of kings had accomplished on the Cross. The true rebuilding of a city could only take place spiritually and by personal choice to find their hope in Christ.

MARKETING MANAGER: There. Now we are getting somewhere! People need to know that angle about Jesus being their hope. That’s a nice catch-phrase by the way, “Jesus, the hope of humanity”. But to get it across involves marketing yourself! And that’s what He failed to do. You need a niche market, which He had with His miracles and an audience to gain popularity, even celebrity status.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead after 3 days in a tomb. You don’t do that without gaining celebrity status and people came out of the woodwork to see Him and Lazarus, (John 12:9). Due to the Sabbath (Saturday) they gathered either that evening or the next morning. 

Not only that but there were already about 2.5 million people in Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover (Josephus). That’s when Jesus acquires a donkey on which He rides into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Matthew 21:9 (NLT) says, “Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around Him were shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David! Blessings on the One who comes in the name of the Lord! Praise God in highest heaven!” 

Many people recognised Jesus as the promised Messiah and King. That’s why they stripped off their cloaks and spread palm branches out on the roadway before Him. This was how you honoured a king. . 

Crowds of people shouted out “Hosanna” which means save now, or save, we pray. They shouted that He was “the Son of David” which was the title for the Messiah. But they, like you, missed the point of what Jesus came to do.

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly! They missed the point. You see? He had it all and because He failed to Market Himself well, within a week, He lost it all. In fact by the end of this week, because of His failure in Marketing Himself, He lost His life. Such a tumultuous mix of praise at the beginning of that week gave way to abuse from the crowd at it’s end. The praises of Hosanah! (Save now!) would soon give way to Crucify Him! … I could have saved Him. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: (Shakes head with a look of frustration and pity) You could not have saved Him. Don’t you understand, He came to save you, spiritually, when you place your trust in Him. 

MARKETING MANAGER: Which leads me to His 4th Mistake… 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: I’m sorry. This is my stop. We will have to resume this conversation at a later time.

MARKETING MANAGER: I will look forward to sharing more about what Jesus teaches us in  WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 4). 

Pastor Ross