The Crowds

The Crowds

The crowds

This weekend, pop superstar Taylor Swift is in town. I imagine that some of you went to the tour, and this first line immediately grabbed your attention. There are others who saw the first four words and decided you would no longer read this.

I can’t help but be in awe of society as I watch hundreds of thousands of people flood into a city for three days in a row to scream the words of songs together. The crowds are massive for these events as Taylor travels from city to city, and the lines to simply buy a tour t-shirt have people camping out all across America. Taylor Swift is a superstar for concertgoers that rivals the likes of Elvis, The Beatles, and the Rolling Stones.

“Why do so many people want to go see Taylor Swift?” you may be asking yourself. Taylor Swift is incredibly easy to follow and love. She writes music that plays into our emotions. She is an easy follow on Instagram. She is easy to flock towards, and when people hop on the T-Swift bandwagon, rarely do they ever hop off.

Two thousand years ago, there was a certain teacher, prophet, and healer who drew crowds. These crowds were large, and all they wanted to do was hear what he had to say. Jesus was an individual who was followed by crowds almost everywhere He went. Just listen to a FEW of the passages we see in scripture:

“ Now large crowds were going along with Him…” Luke 14:25

“ Now, when Jesus saw a crowd around Him…” Matthew 8:18

“The great crowd was pressing around Him.” Luke 5:1

“And large crowds followed Him…” Matthew 19:2

Jesus was in high demand. Everywhere He went, large crowds were right behind Him. They longed for healing! They longed to hear God’s word preached in a way they had never heard! They longed to see the one whose name was spreading throughout the entire country before there were social media to spread a name.

The name of Jesus is still popular, even to this day. People all over the country, and even the world, flock to assemblies every Sunday to worship and remember that they have given their life to Jesus. What I fear is that a lot of what Christianity has become all over the United States does not look at church going much differently than what it would be like to

follow Taylor Swift (or, if it better fits your generation, Elvis, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Garth Brooks, George Strait, etc.). We “pay for our ticket” by giving, we show up in a comfortable seat, and we expect there to be certain things that meet our expectations. In the same way, we buy tickets to shows, and we expect to show up, have our specific seat, and to have a performance that fits our desires.

This should lead me to challenge myself… is church more than an event for me? Is church more than “church” to me? Is church less about the action of getting up and going somewhere on a Sunday morning and more about why I am getting up and going to church?

We see all throughout scripture that large crowds followed Jesus everywhere He went… but there is one place where the large crowds were not with Him… They weren’t standing by the cross with Him. What I fear is that for myself and many other Christians, I am happy to follow Jesus when He is teaching, healing, and loving, but when it comes to dying to myself, I quickly lose interest in that.

Jesus has called us to be more. He has called us to be individuals who aren’t just attenders but joiners in His suffering. Romans 8:17 indicates that we are heirs with Jesus! How awesome is that! Romans 8:17 doesn’t stop at that, though. Romans 8:17 says that the way we become heirs with Jesus and are glorified with Him is by suffering with Him.

If you want to be a follower of Taylor Swift, you don’t have to suffer. You can show up to a concert, listen to her music in your car, and follow her on social media, and nothing in your life has to change. If you want to be a follower of Jesus, there is no such thing as a casual fan. There is glory with Him when I decide to suffer with Him.

As we close, let’s remember: Taylor Swift may be in town this weekend (and many will celebrate music with her this weekend), but Jesus is ever present, so let us never lose sight of Him in our lives.

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