Posts Tagged ‘Matthew 21’

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

Matthew 21:33-46 – WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 10)

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…

9. REFUSE TO COMMUNICATE 

10. BE UNCLEAR IN YOUR COMMUNICATION

and Number 11 is…

11. BE NEGATIVE IN YOUR COMMUNICATION

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

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

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

Matthew 21:12-14 – WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 5)

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…

1. REFUSE TO LET PEOPLE KNOW WHO YOU ARE

2. DON’T TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF THE PLATFORM YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN

3. DON’T GIVE PEOPLE HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

4. SPURN POTENTIAL FINANCIAL BACKERS 

5. BE CARELESS WITH THE MESSAGE YOU CONVEY 

And now sixthly,

6. GIVE EVERYTHING AWAY FOR FREE

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

Matthew 21: – WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 4)

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

1. REFUSE TO LET PEOPLE KNOW WHO YOU ARE. 

2. DON’T TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF THE PLATFORM YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN

3. DON’T GIVE PEOPLE HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

And now fourthly,

4. SPURN POTENTIAL FINANCIAL BACKERS 

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. 

5. BE CARELESS WITH THE MESSAGE YOU CONVEY. 

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

Matthew 21:9 – WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 3)

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

1. REFUSE TO LET PEOPLE KNOW WHO YOU ARE. 

2. DON’T TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF THE PLATFORM YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN

And now thirdly

3. DON’T GIVE PEOPLE HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

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

Matthew 21:7-11 – WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 2)

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

1. REFUSE TO LET PEOPLE KNOW WHO YOU ARE. 

Let me tell you the second mistake He made…

2. DON’T TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF THE PLATFORM YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN

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