Now some cried out one thing, some another, for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together. Acts 19:32
A common theme in the Bible – and still in our lives today – involves a group of people getting upset because their power base is being disrupted. They aren’t interested in truth, but only what will keep the power, esteem, and money rolling in. And since truth isn’t on their side, they resort to other efforts, finding new ways to generate buzz and stir up the crowds. If they can’t win with truth, they will win with the mobs. The crazy thing is, it is sooo easy to do. People love to follow. People blindly follow. People go to the loud voices craftily manipulating them.
In Acts 19 we meet a silversmith, Demetrius, whose way of life is being messed with and who has something to say about it. The gold, silver, and bronze idols they create are rolling in the dough. The worship of all these false gods must go on. But this Paul character and his friends are converting people to Christianity and persuading many that gods made with hands are not gods at all. Demetrius incites his counterparts to begin crying out. Others hear the chants and begin to whisper and wonder what is going on. They lean into the chaos and confusion. They gather friends and rush to join the mob. As bystanders see the people run by, they too join in. They don’t want to miss something good, after all. Masses rushing in and shouting, and most don’t even know why they are there.
We live in a time where messages can flow and spread so far so fast. There are more tools to manipulate and stir up a mob mentality. People are so quick to rush into the metaphorical theater running high on emotion and low on facts and to begin shouting, even if they don’t even really know why they are there. It is such a wake-up call to understand what we are hearing, reading, seeing, following and to know how to bump it up against truth. The authority of truth is God’s word, and we need to know it ourselves. We should seek to follow Jesus, not just His followers and certainly not the misguided crowd.
Questions: Where have you seen mob mentality at work? Have you experienced people blindly and naively following the crowds?