Archive for the ‘Matthew’ Category

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


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.

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


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


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


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


Last time…

MARKETING MANAGER: You want to mess up everything you’ve worked so hard for? You want to position yourself to lose your credibility? Here are proven strategies from Jesus in the Bible for WHAT NOT TO DO if you want to market yourself successfully and effectively:

Think about it. Jesus certainly didn’t Market His brand well.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: But 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 mistake


Let me tell you the second mistake He made…


Having a platform is important so when the opportunity comes, take advantage of the moment. In Matthew 21:7-11, in the middle of a huge crowd who were in Jerusalem, where He could have gained many followers, Jesus rides in on a humble donkey and misses His opportunity to Market Himself again. 

Yes, some of the crowd respond to Him, mostly children it seems, but He could have made a huge entrance and touched the lives of everyone in Jerusalem that day, if He had only chosen a huge white horse and perhaps even a chariot instead of a donkey. The horse and the chariot were suggestive of power and influence, but the donkey is a pathetic way to ride into town. This is not a triumphal entry. It is a triumphal failure to market yourself well. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Now wait a minute. Let’s get the story straight. It wasn’t a pathetic way to enter Jerusalem, but a humble way to ride into town. The donkey was regarded as a symbol of peace. Jesus is called the prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6). He came to bring Peace with God and peace with our neighbours. 

Romans 5:1 (NLT) says, “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.”

If Jesus rode in on a white war horse it would be a deliberate and antagonistic sign of rebellion against Caesar and the Romans would have arrested Him immediately. 

500 years before this event, Zechariah the prophet declared that God would one day send His King. Zechariah 9:9 (NLT) says, “Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet He is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt.” The Jews regarded the passage as Messianic (Edersheim). 

Perhaps the most honoured that day was the donkey. The unbroken donkey. Somehow the touch of the Masters hand enables that which is unbroken to be at peace. Jesus has the ability to bring peace to the wildness of an unridden donkey and to give purpose and direction to untamed hearts.

The greatest triumph of aggressive warfare is insignificant compared to the grace and peace that rode in on a donkey that day. He had all the authority of the King of kings but had the heart of the Prince of Peace. He had a servant heart. He was a true king – a Shepherd of the people. 

MARKETING MANAGER: That may be true but let me tell you about His third mistake…. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: This conversation will have to resume later. I have to go.

MARKETING MANAGER: I look forward to part 3 of our conversation about WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 3)

Pastor Ross

Marketing Graph © Image by Ross Cochrane using Blender 2.8 and


MARKETING MANAGER: You want to mess up everything you’ve worked so hard for? You want to position yourself to lose your credibility? Here are proven strategies from Jesus in the Bible for WHAT NOT TO DO if you want to market yourself successfully and effectively:

Think about it. Jesus certainly didn’t Market His brand well. 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).

He mixed with the “wrong” people – beggars, and sick people and even prostitutes. Yes, you need to help these people, but you don’t get a good reputation for your business by making them your target group.  

And Jesus was effectively homeless. One time when someone wanted to be His follower, He said “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay His head” (Matthew 8:20 (NLT2). 

He could have started a big medical business but didn’t. Yes, He spoke to and catered for some big crowds but had rather radical ideas. He got leaders in the community off-side with Him. He spoke in obscure riddles and often refused to explain Himself.

Yes, His name is a household word today, Christian or not, but He could be so much more popular today if He had been wiser with His marketing strategy. Jesus made some big mistakes in Marketing. 

FOLLOWER OF CHRIST: But Jesus wasn’t interested in Marketing Himself. He wasn’t a CEO of a company or trying to get followers on Facebook.

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly my point! Jesus has much to teach us about what not to do if you want to Market yourself. He would be crucified in the business world today.

FOLLOWER OF CHRIST: That’s not funny! Jesus was crucified literally. He died for our sins and…

MARKETING MANAGER: Yes, yes. And if He had taken more interest in Marketing Himself He could have avoided all that, and would still be popular today. Let’s face it, He made some big mistakes.

FOLLOWER OF CHRIST: Mistakes? What mistakes? Jesus doesn’t make mistakes!

MARKETING MANAGER: Well, let’s start with a key mistake. Here’s what NOT TO DO in Marketing yourself.


Jesus did miracles. That’s got to be His key niche marketing tool to identify Him as exercising the power of God, as the Messiah. But Jesus constantly messed up His opportunities. 

He often did miracles simply because He had compassion on people and asked them not to tell people about what happened. When a little girl was healed (literally raised from the dead) in Luke 8:56 (NLT) “her parents were overwhelmed, but Jesus insisted that they not tell anyone what had happened”.

You want to mess up big time in marketing? – Don’t let people know your talents and passions. Don’t let people know about your interests and the creative and unique things you do. 

Jesus instructed several people whom He had healed to “tell no-one what was done to you”. He missed the opportunity for His niche market. He refused to grow His reputation. Marketing the Messiah was obviously something He knew nothing about. 

If only I had been one of His disciples, I could have saved Him.

FOLLOWER OF CHRIST: You really don’t get it, do you? You couldn’t save Him. He came to save you. Miracles were not Jesus’ key niche marketing tool. Unfortunately, sometimes His miracles interfered with proclaiming the good news that you can be forgiven of your sins and born again spiritually.  Once, when He healed a man with leprosy, Jesus told Him not to tell others. In Mark 1:40-45 (NLT2) it says “But the man went and spread the word, proclaiming to everyone what had happened. As a result, large crowds soon surrounded Jesus, and He couldn’t publicly enter a town anywhere. He had to stay out in the secluded places, but people from everywhere kept coming to Him.” 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. Let me tell you the second mistake He made…

FOLLOWER OF CHRIST: I’m sorry, but we’ll have to continue this conversation later. 

MARKETING MANAGER: Good. I am so pleased you want to continue our conversation. I will look forward to Part 2 of WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF

Pastor Ross

Was Blind1

Was blind, … © Created Images by Ross Cochrane using Blender 2.79b Cycles

Matthew 20:29-34 -  INTERVIEW  – ONCE BLIND 

As Jesus and the disciples left the town of Jericho, a large crowd followed behind.Two blind men were sitting beside the road.  

I interviewed Daniel in a Church service recently. He is completely blind. Daniel said “I was not always blind so I know what I have lost. Being so much older now, I have lost a lot of my mobility and my blindness adds to my lack of independence. Simple things can be difficult for me. For example, I still cannot use my phone and at times I can’t even find the cradle in which to replace it.”

Together Daniel and I related his story to this passage of the Bible in Matthew 20. I didn’t record the interview but you’ll find many of his thoughts in the story below …

If I went back in time with a Camera crew and met and interviewed the 2 blind beggars on the side of the road before Jesus came along, the interview might go something like this… 

Was Blind2

Was Blind, … © Created Images by Ross Cochrane

I am here just outside Jericho, on a very busy road, and in a short time, we will try to get an interview with Jesus as He passes this way. In the meantime, we are speaking to Azriel and Efraim (not their real names), both believers and both completely blind. 

I am interested in what life is like for you and what is your take on the events of this day. Azriel, may I start with you. You went blind in your 20’s as a result of cataracts. May I ask you first what problems you face in everyday life and how your blindness restricts you?

Azriel: Yes, Of course. As you can imagine, I have lost a lot of my independence. I can’t work so I have experienced a dramatic loss of income. This means I have been reduced to begging and relying on others for my livelihood. The money I make from begging is often inadequate. That’s partly why I am here.

How did you find your way here today?

Azriel: It was a challenge, but I know this road and I just had to follow the noises of the people and ask for directions. This is the major road out of Jericho.

Mostly, my life is monotonous, sitting near the city gate begging, but at this time of year, everyone is going to the Passover in Jerusalem. Jericho is a major roadway to Jerusalem and everyone has a story to tell or news to share. That’s how we discovered news about Jesus passing this way.

I can beg by the roadside and listen to the conversations. I make a lot of money with so many people going by and learn a lot about what is happening in the world.

Ephraim: I don’t like going outside but I have to if I am going to survive. Azriel and I travel together. It’s a little like the Blind leading the Blind and the trouble is, it’s not always safe, with ditches, wagons, animals and Roman soldiers. People expect us to get out of the way. We know the best places to beg but often they are also the most dangerous.

It must be difficult to get through the crowded areas

Ephraim: Being on the road to Jericho at this time of year is always exhausting. Too many people roaming about, bumping into us or tripping over us. But we have to contend with the crowds to survive. We have no judgment to react quickly to any dangers so we are accident prone.

Some people give bad directions to us and others just don’t have time for us. We can’t venture out too far or we will get separated and lose our way without help. Sometimes people say “follow me” but unless they are watching us we will get lost in a crowd like this.

How do you cope emotionally with your blindness?

Efraim: I guess we cope because we don’t only rely on our hearing; on touch and smell and on taste to navigate our way through life (although my hearing is particularly good).

Before I had faith in Jesus, I found myself continually grappling with loneliness. My family seemed to be embarrassed by me and I lacked any sense of dignity. I felt as if I was not important to anyone. I felt isolated and I must admit, I still get depressed at times, but I am absolutely sure that I can rely on God and on His mercy.

I get frightened easily when I am alone outside. Rather than thinking the best in people, I can become suspicious of them. Sometimes I am not sure if I am being helped or being mugged. Azriel is fairly positive, so his friendship helps me, but I don’t make a lot of friends.

Since I believed in Christ, I have realised that I can’t trust completely in my own abilities or judgments and I can’t rely on others all the time. We can’t always just go with the crowd.

Azriel, What gives you hope?

Azriel: Our belief. As Ephraim said, we believe in Christ. We heard Him speak once and since then we have both come to believe that He is the promised Messiah, the Son of David. We will cry out for His mercy if ever we hear Him again. His mercy will give us a reason to live.

Was Blind111png

Is there anything else you would like to say?

Azriel: If Jesus is going to the Passover in Jerusalem, then we don’t want to be so blind as to not recognise Him.  He will probably come along this road and we are keeping our ears open. Without Jesus, we are even more blind and helpless and with nowhere to go. But God is always near to us since we believed. I pray that He will give us the eyes of faith to see Him, and the humility to shout out for His touch and His mercy. We want to understand more of who He is and what that means for our lives.

Maybe your desire will come more quickly than you realised. I have just received news that Jesus is coming this way. 

As you can hear, the moment I said Jesus was coming, these two blind men are shouting out “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

The crowd doesn’t seem to like them calling out

“Be quiet!” 

People from the crowd are yelling at them. Let’s talk to one of them. Excuse me, can I ask you why you don’t want these blind men to get Jesus’ attention? 

Crowd member:  They are calling Jesus the Son of David. That’s a term used for the Messiah, the coming King who will one day free us from the tyranny of our enemies. Jesus may be a respected teacher but He is not the Messiah. Talk like that is almost blasphemous.

Another Crowd Member: Besides, they are beggars. As if Jesus will want to speak with beggars. It’s embarrassing.

Despite the crowds yelling at them to be quiet, Azriel and Ephraim are shouting even louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

Azriel and Ephraim, you seem intent on getting this crowd a little angry. Why do you continue shouting? They want you to remain silent and go back to asking for alms. 

Azriel: This is our only opportunity to see Jesus so we cannot give in to their demands. We intend to shout even louder for His intervention of mercy, even if it is undeserved and even if they are embarrassed and have no sympathy or compassion for our desperation. We are going to “Seek the LORD while He may be found” We are going to “call upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6 NLT).

Well, it seems these two blind men cannot be dissuaded. They are shouting even louder. And Jesus is approaching. Let’s see what He does. 

Jesus hears them, and surprisingly, He is stopping to talk to them. 

“What do you want Me to do for you?”

Jesus has stopped and has asked them to articulate their needs. He seems to have accepted the title they have given Him, “Son of David”. Perhaps they are not so blind after all. It will be interesting to see if He will give them any money. They need a handout and they have already asked Him for mercy.

“Lord, we want to see!”

Well, you can see that Azriel and Ephraim are desperate, even to the point of believing that Jesus can perform a miracle and enable them to see. Jesus stands with them and the crowd have gathered around Him. They cried out for mercy desperately, but when Jesus stopped, they didn’t ask Jesus for money but for their sight. You can’t help but feel a little sorry for them, these poor beggars. Everyone has gone silent, wondering what Jesus is going to say or do. Perhaps he’ll encourage the crowd to give. How sad.

Of course, there are many desperate people on this crowded road who need the mercy of God. Not all of them are as demonstrative as these 2 beggars. Perhaps this is a reminder that none of us should be so blind as not to see the needs of those around us. Over to you…

… Wait, something is happening. 

Jesus is reaching down and touching their eyes. (Quickly, get a close-up of this.) Something is happening to their eyes. The moment Jesus touched their eyes something incredible happened! Their eyes are no longer clouded and white with cataract damage. They are clear and bright. (Did you get that?) 

The crowd have breathed a collective breath of amazement. People are gathering around. The crowd is getting a little thick around here. We can’t see what is going on. (Reporter talks to a man on a wagon) Excuse me, can you see what is happening? 

Man on wagon: Yes, Jesus was moved with compassion for two beggars and touched their eyes. Instantly they could see! They are following Him. All praise to God! (Matthew 20:34).

There you have it. We did witness something remarkable. There are too many people around for us to get through to interview Jesus and these blind beggars who apparently have been completely healed, but we will keep trying. 

Please, let us through. We are reporters. We desperately need to speak to Jesus. Please, show a bit of mercy. We can’t miss this opportunity. Not now, after what we just witnessed… 

Forget the camera, guys. We need eyes to see Him too…  

Reporter begins shouting: “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”


This story needs still the words of someone like Adam Clarke, born in 1763, who wrote a commentary on this passage from the Bible and gave what proves to be a timeless invitation. He says,

Reader, whosoever thou art, act in behalf of thy soul as these blind men did in behalf of their sight, and thy salvation is sure. Apply to the Son of David; lose not a moment; He is passing by, and thou art passing into eternity, and probably wilt never have a more favorable opportunity than the present. The Lord increase thy earnestness and faith!

Pastor Ross

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