Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Is Hollywood the New Jerusalem ?

Have you ever wondered why Jesus’ birth was in an exact place and time? Was it by accident or design? Did it serve a greater purpose? What if Jesus had been born 500 years later? Would that have made a difference in the spread of the Gospel? What if he had been born in Greece or Rome? Would that have made a difference? These are all intriguing questions.

I believe the answer to those questions can help us to understand how we can fulfill the Great Commission in our time. Today we live in what many call the mass media age, and there are comparisons that can be made to the time and place that Jesus was born. In other words, there is a reason and a purpose why and when these events occurred.

First, Jesus was born in Judea during the reign of King Herod. Judea was a province of the Roman Empire and under occupation. Rome may have been the center of power in the world, but Judea was the crossroads of the world. Practically every major trade route crisscrossed the Judean landscape. To the north lay Asia Minor, to the south lay Egypt, to the west lay the Roman Empire and Greece, to the east lay Persia and the Far East. There was no greater strategic location in the known world. If you wanted to communicate a message or start a movement, this was the place.

Today, if you want to communicate a message, the place to go is Hollywood and Los Angeles. Every communications distribution channel lies within this small geographical area. Los Angeles may not be the crossroads of the world geographically, but in terms of media and entertainment, everything flows from there. The comparisons between Judea and Hollywood are unmistakable.

Second, by the time Jesus was born, technology had advanced to the point where the Gospel could be spread rapidly. The world had ships and a complex system of roads, all of which made travel possible. Civilization had also advanced to the point where written language was possible. Today, we possess the technology to reach any person on the planet. Thanks to the internet, satellite communications and digital technology, we are capable of communicating the Gospel to any people group on the planet.

Finally, the birth of Jesus occurred in a stable environment which offered an elaborate infrastructure of civilization. The Roman Empire had brought law and order to the known world. On this backdrop, the Gospel message would find its way into the marketplace of ideas. It would spread and grow in its influence throughout the Roman Empire. In our time, our infrastructure in comparison is the media. The media has formed an elaborate web of distribution channels such as satellite and cable networks, TV stations, movie studios, news networks, cell phones and mobile media devices.

So returning to our original question, is Hollywood the New Jerusalem? Do we now have the opportunity to reach every person with the Good News? There’s really nothing new since the days of Paul’s evangelistic trips. We are doing the same thing today, except the means have changed. We can take advantage of the strategic location of Hollywood and the technology and infrastructure that the mass media age offers. We have been given a great opportunity. We are at the right time and place to fulfill the Great Commission,

Just like when Jesus was born in Judea 2000 years ago during the reign of King Herod.

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