Someone once said that the world is made up of three kinds of people: those who make things happen; those who watch things happen; and those who scratch their heads and say, “what happened?” The recent Gretsky hockey trade seems to dump most of us into one of those three categories!
While leaving analysis of the trade to the sports experts, I had to chuckle as the initial response came in from Los Angeles. The first day, there were only 12 phone calls into the King’s office. Only 12! Is the whole city made up of the third kind of people? But they finally woke up, built the southern California edition of the Wayne Gretsky bandwagon, and jumped on it, also leaping into the category of those who watch things happen.
Living in L.A. a few years helped me to understand their slow response. There are a lot of people down there. Many of them know very little about what is going on in the rest of the world simply because their world alone has much more happening in it than most minds can absorb.
Besides that, the competition for news is stiff. Five car pileups on the freeways hit the traffic reports, not the headlines, and only then because people want to know the quickest route home. So many things are happening that most people don’t care “what happened.”
While LA has a few spectacular event-makers, many of them don’t hold their titles very long. If their records are not soon broken by someone else doing something more spectacular, the disenchanted spectators and apathetic head-scratchers put them out for any number of other reasons.
Because of its population alone, Los Angeles certainly ranks a major center for testing superstars. There the ratings rise and fall, products come and go. Unless someone or something has the durability of John Wayne or Big Macs, LA fans have enough clout to turn thumbs down and out it goes. In other words, even great hockey players need enduring qualities to stay high in the public eye in Los Angeles.
Back in the first century, Jerusalem was the big city where superstars were tested. In those days, all eyes were one certain celebrity and few people were scratching their heads. In fact, the historians say that one Sunday, “the whole city (perhaps several hundred thousand people) went out to meet Him.” What a fan club!
At this point, no one seemed to care that He wasn’t mounted on the usual white horse of a conqueror. He rode high in their eyes for three years without that. They gathered palm branches, waved them, threw their coats for His donkey to walk on. They cheered. They called Him a King.
To those who watched things happen, Jesus was impressive, at least as long as He healed them, fed them, or made them feel good. But the leaders, who made things happen, hated Jesus because He was a pest, a monkey wrench in their system. As soon as He make demands on their “comfort zone” they incited the watchers. One week after their enthusiastic welcome, this same adoring crowd decided that this celebrity would never make a world conquering hero. Suddenly a shouting mob, they demanded, “Crucify him . . . crucify him!” They shook angry fists and spit on him. Later, as He hung on the cross they nailed Him to, they mocked saying, “He came to save others? Let him prove it by saving himself!”
Jesus wasn’t looking for a marquee or a trophy, or to prove Himself a winner to the watchers, nor is He subject to their whims. In fact, He cannot be changed by fickle homage or the abuse hurled at Him. He’s beyond the power or even the indifference of all three kinds of people.
More than a celebrity, Jesus rules the wind and the rain, the sea and the world, and all that He has made. He is the eternal Son of God, unbeatable, indestructible, He is the Death Conqueror. In rising from all that the disenchanted mob could do to Him, He gives undeniable proof that He is the ultimate “event-maker.”
Jesus, no matter how the crowds respond, remains forever a winner.