Jesus valued spaces where people of all backgrounds gathered. For Jesus, that space was the marketplace. Of his 132 public appearances, 122 had a marketplace context.
Have you ever been to a European flea market, especially one in the East? This month I have the blessing to be able to visit my parents and work from Romania so I’d like to share with you a reflection I was reminded of as I was walking through one of the many flea markets.
Have you ever considered how Jesus would respond to social media? How would the son of God interact with platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Would he SnapChat his disciples? Would he upload all of his sermons to YouTube?
In short, I believe Jesus would engage on social media. Jesus valued spaces where people of all backgrounds gathered. For Jesus, that space was the marketplace. Of his 132 public appearances, 122 had a marketplace context. The four gospel[s] record Jesus telling 52 parables, 45 had a marketplace context.
While I was walking through the narrow aisles of the local flea market, surrounded by a crowd of people, I was struck by the image of Jesus doing the same thing.
On a Sunday morning, especially in the rural areas, the flea markets are the place to be. After 6 days of hard work, typically on a Sunday, if you are not at church you are at the flea market. If you are not making a living through one of the very diverse stands, you can buy something, get a chance to find out everything new that’s happening in your village, eat some of the best grills and simply meet with your friends and take a stroll. Often, there is no other place to be on a Sunday if you live in a village. Everyone who is at a flea market is in need of something: to earn a living, to buy something for their household or to interact with other people.
Today, if you are not at church you are most likely on Social media. It may seem like the bustling marketplace is fading into the past, but perhaps it has simply moved to another area. 7 out of 10 people will be using Social Media in your community today. These people are making a living, finding inspiration for their lives and enjoying meaningful interactions with other people.
In the same way that Jesus spent a large part of his ministry in marketplaces today it seems he would also be on Social Media. People didn’t come to the marketplace to listen to Jesus they came because they needed something, however, Jesus was there ready to offer something deeper than they thought they needed. Jesus went where people are. How about you?
It is our responsibility to be present at our local gathering places even when they are online. Here are 5 things we can learn from Jesus in the marketplace that might help us be better in our digital mission:
1. Jesus ministered to the everyday person.
When you post, make sure your language is easy to understand by someone who has never been to church before. If you chose to share a verse, try explaining in a couple words how that would apply to someone.
Mark 2:17 When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
2. Jesus showed compassion on everybody, even when he did not agree with their lifestyle.
Although you might have very strong feelings on something, Facebook or any other social media platform might not be the ideal place to start, or engage in, ideological debates.
There were pressing issues in Jesus’ time as well but he was careful about when and where he addressed these. Be intentional about sharing the Good News and connecting with people on Social Media.
3. Jesus visited the marketplace regularly
In his 3 years of ministry if 122 of his appearances were related to a marketplace it means that he was there, on average, weekly.
Facebook has an algorithm – a set of rules that guesses how effective your post will be and one of the main criteria is how regular you are at using Social Media. The more regular you are the more people will see your content.
To summarize, keep your content simple and easy to understand, be intentional about sharing the Good News and connecting with people, make it a habit and be patient!