Elon Musk just bought Twitter. Some are decrying this development because they don’t like a billionaire having so much control over this app. Others whose accounts were suspended or shadow banned are rejoicing because they feel their freedom of speech has been restored.
It’s similar to every presidential election when we hope the next person will bring unity and fix the mess left by the previous leader. When President Trump entered the Oval Office, people were hoping he would drain the swamp. When President Biden took office, people were excited that he would build back better.
Why do we do this? Because this world is hard and painful and awful. The lack of control over our surroundings and the lack of peace caused by the swirling mess lead everyone to wish things were better. Because there isn’t often much we can individually do to make large-scale changes, we look for someone else to swoop in and fix it. We look for a savior—someone who will make the hard times better, who will bring peace, who will restore justice.
This is not a new phenomenon. Even when the actual Savior was walking on this planet, the Jews were still looking for a savior who would rescue them from corrupt leaders. (As an aside . . . reading my Bible has shown me that it is rare to live under good leadership. History is filled with far more evil, self-absorbed political leaders and compassionless church leaders than with wise and benevolent rulers.)
Back to the topic . . . Jesus just finished feeding 5,000 men (if you include women and children too—see Matthew 14:21—it was probably about 10,000-15,000 people) with five small barley loaves and two small fish. This miracle was a sign that he was not from this world. Instead, “after the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, ‘Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.’ Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself” (John 6:14,15).
Instead of seeing the Savior, they were still hoping for a savior. The source of all peace was here, and still they were shortsighted. We can be judgmental and think they were idiots, or we can see our own temptations. All our hopes that someone will emerge to fix our social media, politics, school boards, world hunger, world wars, and corrupt world leaders can also be shortsighted. Are these things important? Yes. At the same time, our yearning for stability points us to a deeper need.
Instead of looking for a savior, we look to the Savior. He doesn’t guarantee he’ll make the situations in our lives better, but he will give us peace through those storms. He doesn’t guarantee free speech but delivers absolute freedom—to serve others, to approach God confidently, to know that this world is just temporary. He drained the punishment for our personal swamp of evil, greed, gossip, overspending, overeating, lack of compassion, arrogance … sin. By rising from the dead and making us part of God’s family, we are built back better because we are made new.
Linda Buxa is a writer and editor who never thought she’d use the words “shadow banned” in a blog post. She’ll save you the trouble of looking up what it is: Shadow banning is a practice where social media sites block a user’s content without actually banning them from the site. It puts them into an invisible mode like a shadow, which severely restricts other users’ ability to search for them or see their content.