Archive for April, 2020

Matthew 21:23-27 – WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 8)

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, 

9. REFUSE TO COMMUNICATE 

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

Matthew 21:19-20 – WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 7)

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…

8. DON’T BE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY 

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

Matthew 21:10-16 – WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 6)

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. 

4. SPURN POTENTIAL FINANCIAL BACKERS 

5. BE CARELESS WITH THE MESSAGE YOU CONVEY. 

6. GIVE EVERYTHING AWAY FOR FREE

and number 7 is …

7. GET THE LEADERS, EXPERTS AND MEDIA OFFSIDE

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