Mob mentality. What comes to mind? Most think of riots, violence, anger, sports arenas, and probably even politics. I recently read an article proposing that people involved in a mob usually become abnormal in behavior, they lose their individualistic drive to the greater mob’s benefit, and display strong emotions or beliefs in their participation. It amazes me what little effort it sometimes takes for a crowd to gather, assembling with a common bond. And yet, how many of us experience this among believers? This past weekend, I saw mob mentality and the impact it can have when Jesus is the common denominator.
Ten churches in our community gathered together, experienced gospel fellowship, and left empowered by the Spirit to spread the gospel. Yes, you might say some of us became abnormal in our behavior, and surely our individual drives were drowned out by the church’s call to unity under the headship of Christ. Worship was sweet, fellowship was sweet, and the unifying power of Christ was made famous among us.
Acts chapter 2 begins, “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.’ And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ But others mocking said, ‘They are filled with new wine’ “(1-16).
I can’t help but laugh at the “multitudes” reaction to this mob of lit-up believers. In the next few verses, Peter has to assure the multitudes who have been drawn to the commotion, the believers aren’t drunk. Can you even imagine being so empowered by the Holy Spirit you are accused of being drunk? I have no doubt that as some in our community looked at the mob at Trinity Pines Conference Center, they were perplexed and amazed, probably saying to one another, “I can’t believe she would go to church with so-and-so!” “I can’t believe they managed to get all those Pastors to get along!” “I can’t believe they were willing to drop all their differences to come together!”
Some probably thought it would take some “new wine” for some of us to want to worship together (much less be edified through it), and yet the Holy Spirit made it happen! Christ proved more valuable than our individual church differences and past conflicts. His cause is greater. For a moment, divine mob mentality took over and Christ was glorified! So many, both churched and unchurched have publicly marveled over the work that only God could bring about. Abnormal behavior? You bet! Strong emotion? Not a doubt! The evangelist for the event, Heath Peloquin, began Awaken by echoing Christ’s question to His disciples in Matthew 16, “Who do you say that I am?” Do we believe Christ is able to mute our differences equipping the body to spread His gospel? When we allow His message to unify us, we see Christ’s church as she really is: many nationalities, many tongues, many members, yet one body…His bride. Our unity brings heavenly things, promises of God, to the present. The Kingdom is at hand (Matthew 10:7).