Scripture: John 7:40-52 (NIV)
On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.” Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee? Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?”
Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.
Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and the Pharisees, who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring him in?” “No one ever spoke the way this man does,” the guards replied. “You mean he has deceived you also?” the Pharisees retorted. “Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him? No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law—there is a curse on them.” Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, “Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?” They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.”
In Return of the Jedi, after Luke Skywalker sends R2-D2 and C-3PO with a message to Jabba the Hutt, the alien gangster says he’ll have no part of any discussions with Luke and instructs his majordomo, Bib Fortuna, not to admit him. Yet when Luke arrives and Fortuna tries to stop him, he waves his hand and “convinces” the Twi’lek to take him to Jabba. The Hutt is infuriated to be woken from a nap to see Skywalker standing in front of him and chastises Fortuna for falling for “an old Jedi mind trick”.
This isn’t the only time we see the Jedi mind trick attempted in the movies. A New Hope is probably the most famous attempt when Obi-Wan gets Luke and the droids past some questioning stormtroopers. We also see Qui-Gon try and fail to use it to convince Watto to help them in The Phantom Menace. Even Rey, a novice Force user, got into the act during The Force Awakens.
This attempt in Jabba’s palace might be the most relevant time to our Scripture today. Jabba did not want to hear what Luke had to say and yet he was let in and allowed to speak. Jesus was preaching to all that would hear and, in a twist from Jabba, the religious leaders wanted Him to be brought in. Not because they wanted to listen to Him but because they wanted to punish Him. (No word on whether they had a rancor pit waiting.)
Yet the guards didn’t bring Him in because “no one ever spoke the way this man does”. They were not blindly led astray by some sort of trick. Jesus didn’t wave His hand and create followers and believers. Christ does not work that way. He will only speak the truth to you and invite you to accept it and follow Him. There are no “Christian mind tricks” that get people to automatically believe. If there were, there would be much fuller churches on Sunday morning! However, if you are able to listen to His Word, you’ll find yourself realizing that you want to hear more. Be listening today!