Mob Reactions Acts 19:32 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Mob reactions are as volatile as a powder keg – people get so stirred up over things – we are going to study mob reactions in the Bible to get a scriptural perspective on their reactions so that when we see others react we can be objective about why they are doing what they are doing.
Mob reactions are:
Emotional – Acts 19:32 – in Ephesus, when the mob gathered against Paul, “the more part knew not therefore they were come together” – they just got charged up with the rest of the crowd in the midst of vast “confusion,” [v.29] – when people react en masse most of them are going on what they feel not what they know – most of them don’t have a clue why they are caught up in the heat of the situation they are in – they’ve just become angered and embroiled in a fight – organizers stir up the spirit and the emotions of the mob.
Irrational – Jn 19:14-15 – when you consider the case against Jesus and compare it with all of the wonderful miracles he did for the Jews and all of the prophecies that he fulfilled it makes absolutely no sense that the mob would call for his crucifixion – it makes no sense that they would acknowledge Caesar as their king and reject Christ – they were totally irrational – in most cases when people react they are just as irrational – they are “cutting off the nose to spite the face.”
Insurrectional – Acts 18:12-17 – insurrectional means tending to induce revolt against civil or political authority – the idea is to get a large enough group with a large enough voice to apply enough pressure to a legislator or a judge so that the “vocal majority” can persuade the authority in their favor even though what they want may be illegal or immoral – this is nothing more than mob rule – you just get more people stirred up to apply pressure to weak legislators and judges – in Acts 18, the mob met their match with Gallio, though – he wasn’t going to budge – more legislators and judges need to be like him and just follow the law rather than the demands of the mob – the mob prefers weaker authorities like Pilate.
Intentional – Lk 23:14-24 – at Jesus’ trial the people were crying crucify him but they didn’t know why – the real motive of the chief priests was envy [Mk 15:10] – that had nothing to do with the people who had been incited to holler for Jesus’ death – if they had known the real reason of the instigators they probably wouldn’t have gone along with them – but then again they were emotional and irrational so you can’t be sure – in any case organizers have an agenda that is rarely revealed to the masses.
Financial – Acts 19:24-25 – while many suffer losses due to the reactions of emotional crowds in an insurrection you can be sure that at the root of the trouble is somebody’s pocketbook – someone needs to be watching the money in these deals – follow the trail to the money if you want to know who’s ultimately behind stirring up the trouble [1 Tim 6:10] – didn’t Judas make a little money in his deal?
Political – Acts 21:19-22, 27-28, 23:7-10 – there is often a political objective in these unruly reactions – someone is protecting his turf or trying to gain additional turf that he didn’t have before – in this case, the Jews didn’t want Paul encroaching on their turf with his “gentile” doctrine and thus diminishing their following by those who still adhered to the law – they viewed him as a political threat just like they viewed Jesus [Jn 11:47-50].
Racial – Acts 22:21-22 – the audience was listening to Paul’s defense in Jerusalem until he said one word, “Gentile” – when he used that word, the crowd erupted and called for his death – oddly, Paul was not bigoted and he always went to the Jews first when he was preaching in a new area – but the Jews who reacted were bigoted – they hated Gentiles and so they blew up when Paul mentioned that word – if you study people’s reactions internationally, they get really stirred up over tribal, cultural, national, racial and religious differences – lots of emotional reactions are rooted in racial and religious bias.
Punishable – Prov 11:21 – when you get a group applying pressure to legalize wickedness they rejoice when they force the laws to change – but, Brother, there is coming a judgment day and the mob will face their deeds at the judgment – not only will they reap the consequences of their rebellion in this lifetime but they will also face eternal damnation in the life to come – the mob may have gotten their way against Jesus at the crucifixion but Jesus is going to have his way against the mob at the judgment [Matt 7:13].
Conclusion: don’t let riotous mobs persuade you or scare you – they don’t know what they are doing – you follow what Jesus said no matter what the mob is doing and you’ll come out on the right side of the case every time.