The Crowd

November 19, 2018

John 12:17-19… The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised Him from the dead continued to bear witness. The reason the crowd went to meet Him is that they heard He had done this sign. So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him.”

            It would appear that some of this crowd who cheered for Jesus were also in the crowd that shouted “Crucify him” less than a week later. How could that be? Partly, I believe, it was because of crowd dynamics. When you are in a crowd, it is sort of natural to want to fit in… to be part of the crowd, not just with the crowd.

            I had a difficult time during adolescence, as I know may people did and still do. My parents were my assumed authority on everything… until I got to high school. The crowd of kids that made up our high school were from many differing backgrounds. My parents became just one of the influences in my life. ‘Fitting into the crowd at school’ became a need in me. One day I saw a friend standing with some buddies across the street. I approached them, wanting recognition. When I got close, I realized they were smoking. I had never smoked but wanting to fit in was a powerful urge so when one of the guys offered me a smoke, I took it and lit it… hoping they wouldn’t notice I did not know what I was doing. But, God was watching out for me. The cigarette was a Lucky Strike without a filter. He had planted a tiny explosive charge in the tobacco and it blew up in my face. I had tobacco all over me. They laughed, so I laughed. I knew I had been duped but It was still better than not fitting anywhere. The moral of that story is,  “Control your desire to fit into a crowd.”

            For just a moment, I felt group acceptance; but I never joined those guys again nor did I ever smoke. Like I said, “God protected me.” But here is another story: At that time, the accepted  ‘look’ was shirts with button down collars. I didn’t have any. My mom bought me shirts where the collars just flapped in the wind. I sat in my room at night and sewed buttons on my collars. I put the collar where I wanted it and sewed the button right through the collar and the shirt.