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Snake Oil

Back in the day, they rolled into town with their bottled potions that promised to cure consumption, arthritis and more. My dad remembers as a little boy seeing medicine men hawk their wares in town centers in the South. Sometimes they would set up a projector and show a short silent flick (accompanied by a musician). Once they had a crowd they would do commercial breaks between the entertainment to hawk their “snake oil,” which typically amounted to little more than colored water. But people are gullible and they used their precious resources to procure what they thought was the answer to their urgent need. Today politicians roll into town and do the same thing. They tell people what they want to hear. During the election process empty promises rule the day. And because people are still gullible, they vote with their brain in neutral.

The Pharisees tried to paint Jesus as a traveling Medicine Man, a charlatan and a fraud. He spoke about a new kingdom that could occupy people’s hearts and do away with their need to try and earn salvation. This was a direct threat to a religious system that preyed upon people’s fears and ignorance. Jesus was the real deal. Wherever He went He healed the sick, cleansed lepers, and in some places even raised the dead. But even this wasn’t enough to convince many that He wasn’t a fraud.

The manipulators of human gullibility use the “wow” factor to get noticed. That’s why Vegas is so popular. It’s all about “wow.” The problem with this is that eventually what used to “wow” us gets boring, and we need something bigger and more eye-popping to grab our attention!

After Jesus fed 5,000 + men, women and children, everyone said, “Wow! Do it again!” In fact, they wanted Him to be their king because He could just perform miracles every time they had a need.

Jesus refused to play their game because His kingdom is not about impressing people with supernatural evidence. It’s not about manipulating human gullibility to get a LIKE or positive response. God’s kingdom is about bringing healing to people ravaged by broken marriages, greed, deceit, identity theft, lies, religious hypocrisy and so much more!

God wants to change us so that we no longer fall victim to the religious charlatans, wormy politicians and fake news broadcasts.

Rich DuBose writes from Northern California.

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About Rich DuBose

Rich DuBose

is director of Church Support Services for the Pacific Union Conference.

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