Study Guide: Get Real

Sunday March 30, 2008 | Greg Boyd, Scott Boren

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

In our culture celebrity worship is rampant. Because of their money, talent, and the attention they receive, many of us live through pop icons. Sadly, this same mentality creeps into the church. We can be tempted to elevate church leaders above everyone else and think that the Kingdom happens through them alone. Their prayers count more. Their words are more powerful. Their service is more significant. Jesus came to destroy this thinking!

Extended Summary:

In this passage, the woman interrupts Jesus to applaud his actions, specifically the miracle of casting out the mute demon. (See the previous verses in this chapter.) But this praise she offers is not worship of the Messiah but rather a form of celebrity fixation. She is overwhelmed by what Jesus did and sees him like many do today with the pop icons of our culture.

In our culture, we know how to give applause to these pop icons. These are the people who have THE LIFE. They have the attention, money, connections and talent that the peons of this world lack. As a result, we live through these people. We experience life vicariously through them, whether through reality shows or through fictional dramas or sitcoms.

Sadly, this same mentality is alive and well in the church. It is easy to think that we can do the Kingdom through the leaders of the church. We are tempted to elevate them to a level above everyone else. Because of this, we think that their prayers count more. Their words are more powerful. Their ministry more significant.

But Jesus came to destroy such a mindset. Jesus said the following in Matthew 23: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat …they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to have people call them “Rabbi.” But you are not to be called “Rabbi,” for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.”

Jesus is very much against celebrity-itis (watch what the holy people do) and religious vicarious living (“I’m doing the Kingdom because they’re doing the Kingdom”).

We are not to eulogize a leader’s mom’s womb and breasts by calling them blessed nor are we to eulogize others with fancy titles like “Rabbi” “Father” or “Reverend.” We are all brothers and sisters and therefore we are all equal. No one’s holier than another. There are no mediators, no priests, go-betweens. There are no celebrities; just ordinary people. God is God and everyone else is on a level playing field.

Reflection Questions:

  1. In what ways has vicarious living crept into the way you do life?
  2. How have you seen celebrity-itis in the church?
  3. Why do you think this pattern has developed in the church?
  4. How does church celebrity-itis hinder a person’s ability “hear and obey”?
  5. In what ways do you need to change your life so that you can “hear and obey”?