I have a client — I’ll call him John — who was recently injured when his pickup truck crashed into a car that pulled out in front of him on Knoxville Avenue in Peoria. The collision occurred on a weekday at about 4:45 p.m., near the intersection of Knoxville and McClure. John is a construction worker and was on his way home from work at the time of the collision.
Immediately after John’s truck crashed into the car, two young women jumped out of the car and began screaming at John, insisting that the collision was his fault. There were two other women who also got out of the car, but stayed nearby while they made some calls on their mobile phones.
Within five minutes, the area was swarming with people who were associated with the four women who were in the car. Several of the people started yelling at John, so he quickly moved away from the area where the collision occurred. Concerned about his safety, he called some of his coworkers and asked them if they would come and stay with him until the police arrived.
Shortly after John called his coworkers, several of them showed up in their trucks and parked about a block away from the scene of the collision. By then, there was a mob of people with the four women, many of whom were shouting at John. Finally, a couple of City of Peoria police officers arrived and dispersed the crowd.
After questioning John and the women who were in the car, the investigating police officer issued a traffic ticket to the driver of the car.
Later, after John got home, he began feeling the effects of the collision. His neck and back were hurting, and he had a severe headache. A few days later, he was still experiencing pain and headaches, so he called and scheduled an appointment with his doctor. By the time he came to see me, he had already seen his doctor and was scheduled to begin physical therapy for his injuries.
During the early years of my law practice (1980s), it would have been impossible to notify and assemble a large group of people within five minutes of an accident. Today, most people carry a smartphone and have instant access to friends and family members. At any time of the day or night, a person can immediately call, text, or communicate with friends and family members through social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Within minutes, that person can notify hundreds of people about a situation and ask for their assistance.
The incident that occurred with my client made me wonder about how large groups of people were able to find out where Jesus was, so they could show up to greet Him and hear what He had to say. At that time, the only means of communication was word of mouth.
We know from the book of Saint Matthew that after John the Baptist was beheaded, Jesus got in a boat and withdrew to a deserted place to be by Himself. Word spread quickly as to where Jesus was and people from the surrounding towns traveled to see Him. Saint Matthew tells us what happened after a large crowd came to see Jesus:
When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. Matthew 14:15-21
If there were five thousand men, it’s safe to assume that most of them had wives and children with them. The total number of people in the crowd was probably more than 15,000 — an astonishing number of people considering the fact that each of them had to first learn about where Jesus was by direct communication from someone else, and then travel on foot to see Him.
Imagine how big of a crowd Jesus would attract today with the multiple forms of instantaneous communication that are available to everyone.
It’s easy to imagine millions of people showing up to see and listen to Jesus. Could He feed several million people with five loaves and two fish? Of course He could. And after He did that, hundreds of millions of people would be able to see what He did by watching a video of Him on YouTube.
Some of today’s top musical celebrities, such as Taylor Swift, Adele, Katy Perry, and Bruno Mars, have videos on YouTube that have each generated over one billion views. How many views would a YouTube video of the Son of God speaking and performing miracles generate?
Wouldn’t it really be cool if we were able to see and hear Him talk? Did He have a deep voice? Did He speak with emotion? What hand gestures did He use when He spoke? Who was around Him when He spoke to large crowds? Was His mother usually with Him? Did He ever sing a song to get His point across?
If we had a YouTube video of the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and the fish, would we be able to slow down the frames of the video to such an extent that we would be able to see exactly how the miracle occurred? Did hundreds of baskets simply appear out of nowhere? When the baskets appeared, were the loaves and fish already in the baskets or did they materialize after the baskets were in place.
And why did the Son of God choose to come to Earth at a time when there were no electronic devices to record His voice or His image? Wouldn’t it have been easier for people to believe in Him if they could see His miracles, crucifixion, and ascension into Heaven on YouTube?
I’m looking forward to finding out the answers to all these questions after I am welcomed into the Kingdom of God.