To students of the New Testament, the events of the last election – and ongoing – must seem like a remake. Events, not personalities. There's no comparison between the Messiah and the President. Jesus said, "I am meek and lowly in heart."
But if Trump were operating out of a playbook (and I don't think he is), it's the Gospels. In Judea 2,000 years ago, there were entrenched political powers. Jesus walked into the Temple and said to them, "Ye have made it a den of thieves!" That's basically Trump's line against those who occupy our hallowed establishments.
Unsettled by Jesus rocking their boat, yet unable to ground accusations against Him, they resorted to calling Him a drunk, a glutton, and an associate of rich sinners. Trump's opponents have resorted to ad hominem character assassination from day one.
Regarding the powers that were, Jesus said in Matthew 11:
16 But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows,
17 And saying,We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.
The powers were frustrated because though they told the masses what to think and how to respond, the masses didn't follow the script – sort of like every major media outlet telling us in unison whom we should vote for and why. Their tantrums pursuant to the election expose the same spirit.
The powers controlled the culture. They set the rules and directed the narrative. If you said something politically incorrect, you would be ostracized from society. Jesus ignored that stricture. It both enraged the powers and enthralled the public.
One particular passage encapsulates various dynamics of what we've recently witnessed: Luke 11:37-54. In summary, the establishment criticized Jesus for not washing his hands before dinner. Rather than kowtowing, He lashed back at them for putting on a pretense of cleanness on the outside while being dirty and corrupt inwardly.
He called them hypocrites and fools. When He declared, "Woe to you" to one group, a member of another group said, "Hey, you reproach us as well when you say that." He replied, "Woe to you, too!" As He proceeded to lambaste them for their miserable performance, the discourse became very uncivil.
The next chapter opens by saying that the multitude outside the house trampled one another trying to get close enough to hear the argument. Why? Because He was saying things they all knew to be true, yet no one was allowed to say them. To hear the truth proclaimed in public – and in the face of those who ruled by suppressing it – was exhilarating.
Sound recently familiar? The only thing missing is the dialect. One can almost hear Trump exclaiming, "Woe unto you, CNN! Woe to you, New York Times! Hypocrites! Fools!"
Now, tell me if I'm reading more into this parallel than is there. Jesus knew that the rule was to ritualistically wash His hands before eating. It was proper decorum. When He changed the water into wine at the onset of His ministry, that's why the water pots were present. I posit that this faux pas was intentional to provoke the very confrontation that arose. He baited them, and they fell for it.
Whom does that sound like? That's how you wrestle the narrative out of the grip of the narrators.
When Trump narrates, he makes no attempt at sophistry. He doesn't use high-sounding multisyllabic words to embellish a cosmopolitan image. He speaks in the vernacular. And when, on the campaign trail, he recited a poem about avicious snake, he was teaching in a parable.
For those who are still flummoxed by Trump's popularity, perhaps it's because the confrontational aspect of his style partially emulates the most popular leader in human history. They're similar in technique, regardless of dissimilarities in character.
Perhaps he just knows how to work a crowd. But I can't complain about the role model he's patterned his approach after.
Mike VanOuse is a Factoryjack (one who works in a factory) from Indiana.