When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed. Mark 6, verses 53-56
One of my favorite TV shows is ending. “Mad Men” has only two more episodes to go before Don Draper and company sign off into TV eternity. If you haven’t watched it, through 7 seasons, Mad Men has told the story of life and advertising in the 1960s. As a period piece, it impeccably captures styles, furnishings, products, attitudes, and reactions to the monumental events of those times: all told through the lives of the characters, most of whom are shallow and even despicable in some ways. It’s well-written quality TV and I’m going to miss watching it.
I’ll miss it because I’ve learned a bit about advertising from watching. The purpose of advertising is to get you to do something: to acquire something you weren’t even thinking about. Advertising convinces you that you need something, gets you thinking about something you might not have considered before. The TV show portrayed the glamourous world of golden age Madison Avenue as gritty, hard work done by intensely flawed but completely human people. Their ongoing work was to better themselves by building the perfect ad.
If you think about it, a good ad spreads quickly because of its smartness, simplicity, quality, and short message. Sort of like the Gospel, though I can’t picture Jesus as Don Draper. Watch the show and you’ll see Don needs some Jesus; don’t we all?
But the point remains: the Gospel is smart, simple, quality and succinct. It speaks for itself and gets you thinking. It did for the folks in Mark 6 because they had heard the Gospel from Jesus Himself. They knew His quality message wasn’t some cheap imitation and it wasn’t some ruse or shallow thing that would fill them for a second yet still leave them empty inside. When the people realized Jesus was coming, the flocked to see Him. They brought out their neediest friends and took them to see Him. This had been happening for months all around Judea because word of mouth spreads fast. When they heard Jesus and heard about Him, they wanted more and more.
Isn’t that the case with our lives as well? When we hear about something, do we want it? If you see the ads for food, do they make you hungry? When you read the weekly ads, do you page through and think you might just need something new? Word of mouth spreads fast, which is why advertising works, which is why I found Mad Men to be so entertaining.
Jesus had the best ad of all: I’m God and I died for you because I love you. It’s a great tag line: smart, simple, high quality and brief. Don Draper couldn’t have done better; neither can I. It’s the word that spread fast in ancient Judea: it’s the Word that still spreads like holy fire today to bring many sons to glory.
Lord, I crave Your crazy message of love. Use me today, I pray, to share Your word with someone.
Read Mark 7, verses 1-23.