The Power of Persuasion
by Allen Scott 4/18/2007 / Devotionals
Matthew 15:14 (KJV) Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
Sheep NEAR THE VILLAGE of Gevas in eastern Turkey, while shepherds ate their breakfast, one of their sheep jumped off a 45-foot cliff to its death
Then, as the stunned shepherds looked on, the rest of the flock followed. In all, 1,500 sheep mindlessly stumbled off the cliff. The only good news was that the last 1,000 were cushioned in their fall by the growing woolly pile of those who jumped first. According to The Washington Post, 450 sheep died.
The Bible often refers to human beings as sheep (Ps. 100:3; Isa. 53:6; Matt. 9:36). Easily distracted and susceptible to group influence, we would rather follow the crowd than the wisdom of the Shepherd.
Mass media merchants long have held the notion that public opinion can be shaped and manipulated through the power of the press. Say something often enough and loud enough and sooner or later people will start to believe it. Advertisers spend big money on ad campaigns in attempts to persuade people to buy what they are offering. Political leaders spend huge sums of money on marketing in order for their messages to be heard.
Sunday, October 30, 1938, will forever be remembered as a seminal event in the history of American mass media and their potential impact on our collective consciousness.
Just one day before Halloween, an utterly unanticipated event occurred on the radio, then the primary medium of information and entertainment.
An audacious and brilliant artist by the name of Orson Welles broadcast a radio dramatization of H. G. Wells' famous fantasy, "The War of the Worlds."
Produced by Welles' Mercury Theatre, the program was broadcast over WABC and the Columbia Broadcasting System Network.
A wave of mass hysteria seized thousands of listeners who were led to believe that an interplanetary conflict had started with invading Martians spreading wide death and destruction in New Jersey and New York. The broadcast disrupted households, interrupted religious services, created traffic jams, and clogged communications systems.
Thousands of telephone calls reached CBS stations, city authorities, newspaper offices, and police headquarters in various cities testified to the mistaken belief. The broadcast became a rumor that spread throughout the country, with many people standing on street corners, hoping for a sight of the "battle" in the skies.
Despite the fantasy nature of the reported "occurrences," the program, coming after the recent war scare in Europe and a period in which the radio frequently had interrupted regularly scheduled programs to report developments in Czechoslovakia, caused fright and panic throughout the area of the broadcast.
Though only a work of dramatization The War of the Worlds broadcast demonstrated the power of radio to influence the public. Radio had an authority and immediacy that made even the bizarre believable.
John 12:12-13 (KJV) 12 On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Each year Bridgeport, Connecticut holds their annual Barnum Festival. An upbeat civic event celebrating the life of P. T. Barnum (1810-1891). Barnum was the nineteenth-century circus king and was once the city's mayor. Barnum was called "The Prince of Humbug." He enjoyed playing hoaxes on people, all in the spirit of creative capitalism.
Barnum saw his sideshows as harmless ways of fooling people while giving them their money's worth in good, clean fun. His "Cardiff Giant," his "161-year-old nanny to George Washington," and his "Fejee Mermaid" are legendary. He even wrote a book entitled Humbugs of the World (see www.ptbarnum.org).
The Barnum Festival is a 30-day-long Fourth of July celebration. A time to kick back, lighten up, block out all of the distractions in your life and embrace a mega-celebration of parades, concerts, parties, drum corps and the fireworks extravaganza.
The Barnum Festival was created to make people feel good about celebrating the life and times of P.T. Barnum who was known for putting on the "greatest show on earth"
With no apologies to Mr Barnum, those of us who have been redeemed from death to life through the work of Jesus Christ have a far greater celebration to partake of each year. The 40 days of Lent should be a celebration leading up to the grand parade of Palm Sunday where Jesus makes His entrance into Jerusalem to set up for the real 'greatest show on earth and in heaven'.
Much like a circus parade that drew crowds to Barnum's sideshows Jesus's triumphant ride into Jerusalem was met with great crowds and enthusiasm. Unlike Barnum, Jesus was not setting up a sideshow.
John 19:15-18 (KJV) 15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. 16 Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. 17 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: 18 Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.
Orson Welles produced and narrated the retelling of H.G. Wells' "The War of the Worlds" and it caused quite a stir in the streets around the world. God wrote and produced the real "War of the Worlds" (Jesus's crucifixion) which caused quite a stir in heaven and hell when it played out on the world's stage. The battle between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness was being fought while the crowds stood around in stunned silence.
There were no cameras no radio show, no three ring circus, just three crosses on a hill outside Jerusalem where the Prince of Glory was sacrificed for our sins.
One wayward sheep led many to their slaughter in Eastern Turkey and one Lamb of God will lead many to eternal salvation from a hill called Mount Calvary.
Who has the power of persuasion over your life? Are you following the humanist thinking that dismisses God as a hoax? Are you being led around by the trickster of all tricksters Satan as he leads you from one sideshow act to another? Are you being led to your demise by a wayward sheep rushing over the cliff of self destruction because they have left the way of the Good Shepherd?
Who is leading your parade? Are you being led by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords or being misled by some other minstrel or piped piper? Are you in the crowd crying Hosanna Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord or are you one that is shouting Crucify Him?
We are all affected by our surroundings. What we see and hear affects our thoughts and actions. What are you filling your ears and eyes with? Are they focused on the truths of God's word or are they fixed upon things of this world?
When the end comes will you hear APRIL FOOLS or well done thou good and faithful servant enter now into the joy of the Lord?