Please forgive me for my Star Wars geekiness, but I feel like I need to say this: Jesus doesn’t use “Jedi mind tricks”.
In one of the most famous scenes from what I call “Star Wars I” (and my eight year old calls Episode IV) Obi Wan responds to storm troopers who stop and search them, with only his “Jedi powers” and apparently (from the photo above) a sort of half-formed “A-OK” sign. The stormtroopers respond by mindlessly repeating every word the Jedi knight says, and then waving the party (including the droids they WERE actually looking for) through their checkpoint to begin their great adventure, inspire millions of geeky blog posts like this, and make billions in merchandising royalties in the meantime.
There is no record of Jesus ever using a “Jedi mind trick” in scripture. Jesus never convinced his followers to mindlessly repeat his slogans and obey his commands. Instead the scriptures are filled with followers of Jesus who pushed back…who questioned his teachings…who even turned away from following their teacher…and ultimately went on to turn the world upside down with his teachings. Jesus never “forced” a single one of his followers to do anything.
That might sound like great news-and I believe it is. However, I think at some level, most of us wish it wasn’t true. At some level I think we wish that Jesus would use a little “Jedi Magic” on us. We wish that there was a verse we could memorize that would cause us to never again want to sin. We wish that there was a scripture or a sermon we could simply hear and never again long for stuff that is clearly not good for us. I personally wish that during the “First World Problems” series that there was some trick I could learn that would cause me to instantly value people over “stuff” and Comfort. I wish there was a sermon we could hear that would cause us to never struggle with materialism and covetousness again. That would be a “trick” that I think people would line up to see and hear.
But Jesus doesn’t use tricks, Jedi or otherwise. Jesus instead appeals to our heart…appeals to a part of us that somehow we know is good and correct…even though it is counter to EVERY message we hear from popular culture and conventional “wisdom”. Jesus simply delivers the truth. Unpopular. Subversive. Often Abrasive.
Jesus simply states again and again: These are not the things you are looking for. These are not the things that will actually satisfy you. These aren’t the droids you were looking for. OK, maybe not the last one :-) but what we do with that information is totally up to us…
31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. -Jesus (Matthew 6:31-33)