Jürgen Klopp, the manager of Liverpool Football Club once said in an interview, “Jesus is the most important person in history”. There is no Christian on the face of the earth who would not agree. The highly symbolic book of Revelation which focuses on Christ’s reign, return and glorious majesty is a witness to this assertion. He is the number one Man in God’s estimation. This got me thinking, what if Jesus Christ was on earth during this era of social media?
First, it is worth pointing out that Jesus Christ Himself would likely not be on social media if He was on earth today. His “fame-obsessed, caucus-minded” disciples however, Peter to be precise, would have created various accounts for Him (and had them verified)and Jesus, ever ready to meet people at their level would likely not have objected to it. On the basis of the gospel accounts, what can we surmise would have happened with Jesus’ presence on social media?
Jesus would have been the most followed person on social media. Great multitudes could not get enough of Him,
“And there followed Him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis (ten cities), and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan” (Matthew 4:25)
“And great multitudes were gathered together unto Him, so that He went into a ship and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore” (Matthew 13:2–3)
“Straightaway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no not so much as about the door: and He preached the word unto them” (Mark 2:2)
Secondly, Jesus Christ would not have had to beg or campaign for followers or subscribers. He would not have to say something like, “Hi, its your boy Jesus of Nazareth, follow me on twitter @JesusChrist, on Instagram @Jesus_Christ, make sure to smash that like button…”. For one, He would have been too focused on His Father’s business to care about how many followers He had. He would not even be in charge of running the social media accounts. Again, His life was full of drama, controversy and confrontation; from confronting the Pharisees, to publicly healing the sick and walking on water, from making incendiary statements to driving people out of the temple, there was never a dull moment with Jesus. This makes His natural everyday life a perfect fit for social media and a magnet for an audience dying to be delivered from that boring life they call their own. Thirdly, Jesus was immensely charismatic. His personality alone was enough to attract followers. He did not call any of His disciples with more than ten words. “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men”(Matthew 4:19). To Matthew, all He said was, “Follow me” (Matthew 9:9).
Thirdly, Jesus Christ would be the most powerful social media influencer of all time. Whenever Jesus spoke those two words, “follow me” to those He called, they usually left all and followed Him. Matthew abandoned His career as a tax-collector (a despised but lucrative occupation in those days), James and John left their father and the family business (Matthew 4:22), Peter left his fishing career to follow Him. Even when He was no longer on the earth, Paul abandoned all his credentials and called them “dung” (the equivalent of a four letter curse word today) for the sake of following Him (Philippians 3:4–14). What of the multitudes?
“…Jesus…departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed Him on foot out of the cities” (Matthew 14:13)
Jesus’ followers were die-hard followers. He was travelling by ship and they, of their own accord, followed him on foot. A twenty-minute video is too long for a good percentage of the social media audience today. There is a Christian YouTuber I really love but he has some four hour long videos I am sure I would never watch till I die. Jesus on the other hand, held the attention of a multitude captive for three days straight without food! (Mark 8:2). No entertainer, celebrity or social media influencer can boast such a record since the advent of social media.
Fourthly, Jesus would not permit His miracles to be uploaded on social media by His disciples or the details discussed on social media by the recipients of the miracles. Although I believe a few would still have found their way there anyway because Jesus kept telling those He healed not to tell anyone, but they could not just keep their mouths shut about it(Mark 1:40–45). Who can blame them?
Fifth, Jesus’ would have been the most misquoted person on social media. His utterances would consistently (and deliberately in most cases) be distorted. In this ultra-sensitive world where people’s feelings take precedence over facts and truth, Jesus’ statement about the cost of following Him, or about how adultery extends to the heart or about hell or about Sodom and Gomorrah being better than Capernaum that rejected Him despite His mightiest works being done there would definitely have been reported in a distorted manner to infuriate relevant sections of the general public. I suspect the Scribes and Pharisee’s social media accounts would be the brains behind this “fake news”.
Sixth, Jesus would be the most criticized person on social media. He would be criticized for not using His social media influence the way the audience wants, for not speaking against Roman rule or against slavery or against taxes. He would be criticized for constantly being photographed dining with harlots and tax collectors and sinners. He would be criticized for talking to Zacchaeus, criticized for telling the rich young ruler to sell all he had and follow Him, criticized for taking a man’s unused donkey and riding it into Jerusalem. Criticized for not speaking against Trump and criticized for not feeding the whole of Africa with 5 bags of rice and 2 turkeys...
Seventh, He would be the most memed, trolled and lampooned person on social media. Jesus never shied away from making controversial statements. Worse still He never attempted to explain them. He once told His audience He is the bread of life and that they had to eat Him. The audience, understandably, was disturbed by this sermon which they interpreted as cannibalism. How does Jesus react?
“…Verily Verily I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, ye have no life in you.” (John 6:53)
He provided endless “meme” material throughout His earthly ministry. From saying He was greater than Jonah and Solomon, to saying He existed before Abraham, social media would have made a lunatic out of Him.
Eight, His miracles would not have been believed. In this era of social media and effects, Jesus’ miracles would not have cut it for skeptics. Any idiot could “cleanse a leper” or “make a missing limb appear” with the right app and video editing today. The curing of the woman with an issue of blood could have been attributed to some scientific breakthrough or some other cause. The healing of the deaf would be dismissed as no more than acting. Even the healing of the well-known demoniac would be dismissed as a chance occurrence, perhaps a psychologist or therapist did it. In fact it would have been far more difficult to believe Jesus Christ and His message because everyone (including and especially those who had never met Him or known Him personally) could air their every opinion and perspective of Him at the click of a button, meaning there would be so much information and stories about Him (a good number of them distorted or blown out of proportion)that it would be impossible for an unbiased seeker of truth to know what to believe about this Man.
Snap back to reality…
Three foods for thought. First, Jesus Christ came at the most perfect time in human history. An era where His supernatural acts were obvious and indisputable. He came at a time where He could fulfill His mission, first to Israel by coming to confirm the promises made by God to their fathers and the prophecies of scripture and then to the world at large by dying on the cross, without dealing with the additional pressure modern day technological advancements bring.
Secondly, it would have been far more difficult to believe Jesus Christ if He was around on earth today so people clamoring for “evidence” under the guise that they would believe Him only if they saw Him are just deceiving themselves. They would not believe Him if He walked up to them wearing a red tuxedo with a lapel that reads “This is Jesus, King of the Jews” and introduced Himself. After all Jesus said to Thomas,
“…blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29)
Finally, and most importantly, in this social media era where people would do anything to get a bit of attention or approval from an audience they neither know and have never met nor will ever meet, this influential Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the most important person on earth is at our service, ready to have an intimate relationship with us and shower us with more love and attention than we will ever need. He said, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). If this is the case, why then should we fight for the fleeting attention and shallow love of others who are far less important?