It was my senior year of high school when the Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl. Not much of a football fan before that win, I became one on the day of the celebratory parade downtown. I ditched school with the rest of my senior class, cheering on the football team. It was all for a short-lived, praise-roaring afternoon out of class.
My few days as a cheering football fan help me see myself in the crowds who praised Jesus, spoke highly of Him, and listened with wonder to His teaching in the synagogues. I imagine He was dynamic, captivating, handsome. Everyone was talking about Him; Luke tells us that "news of him spread throughout the whole region" (Luke 4:14). Can you imagine how much people must have been talking, for news of Him to spread through the whole region, without the help of social media to spread His name like wildfire?
We know the crowds’ praises didn’t last. Praise can be empty and short-lived. I have no doubts that most of the people amazed at Jesus’ words genuinely felt moved by Him. In my football-cheering week, I was genuinely excited that the Broncos won. It was thrilling, but then the excitement faded. I think many of the people in the crowds listening to Jesus felt like that—"wow, this guy really has something neat to say," but they weren’t moved to a place of faith. We know that many turned their backs on Him. Maybe they simply didn’t keep listening. Maybe they felt afraid of the risks involved to follow Jesus.
It doesn’t matter that I’m not a lifelong Broncos fan. It does matter if I’m merely a “fan” of Jesus when His words and works amaze me. Whether I choose to follow Him after the crowds’ cheers fade? That's what matters. I choose more than being momentarily amazed and swayed by the passion of the crowd around me.
I choose a relationship like the one Saint John describes in the First Reading, one that loves because I am loved, and it will last forever.
The news of Him spreading is a theme in Luke. Take a peek at these other passages on this theme as well: Luke 4:37; 5:15; 7:17.
Gina Fensterer is a Colorado native at heart, but the West Coast beach life suits her just fine. She currently lives in small coastal area of California with her husband and six children. She loves the Jesus prayer, coffee at any time of day, homemade salsa, photography, and sleepy toddler snuggles. You can find out more about her here.