I’m not sure when musicians first became the objects of extreme popularity. We know about the Beatles and Elvis Presley, even as modern TV shows try to select people who will become new stars in the recording industry. But, did Mozart and Beethoven get the same reaction when they walked the streets, or were featured at a concert? Were there thousands of screaming fans in ancient Rome or Greece, when a popular musician showed up in an amphitheater? I wonder if David had fans listening to him play his music (see 2 Samuel 6:5), although I suspect that only sheep attended his early concerts.
Throughout the past few decades, certain musicians have definitely obtained great recognition (although for a few, I fear that their behavior has earned them something more like notoriety). We are probably familiar with the term, “Rock Star”, describing someone whose fame is broad and whose popularity defies logic.
When criticized for being publicly recognized as a king, Jesus responded with the following statement:
But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!”
Luke 19:40 NASB
It is quite possible (probable, even?) that those shouting praises to Jesus as He entered Jerusalem didn’t realize what sort of king He would be, or why He had come. And, the “critics” of their praise may have been attempting to prevent an uprising that would have resulted in Roman retribution. Still, praising Jesus was appropriate.
As we look around, we see that the universe attests to God’s creativity, personality, and character. Glorifying God is something that His creation is compelled to do. The sunrise is spectacular. The mountains are majestic. Flowers bloom and birds build nests, all attesting to the creativity of the Creator.
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
Romans 1:20 NASB
It seems that only human beings, with our ability to choose whether we will be for God or against God, get to decide whether or not to glorify God. Admittedly, choosing to not bow to God will only last for a short time:
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:9-11 NASB
I’m not saying that we can’t listen to music, or go to concerts. Many Christian musicians these days gather listeners together into “concerts” that are really worship services, pointing all of the praise and glory right back to God.
However, as we watch the adulation poured out upon secular musicians, perhaps that is a good reminder for us to consider how we can give God that same level of praise and glory. Even if our means of showing our praise to God differs from screaming fans with lighters (or smartphone apps with a picture of a lighter), do we get that excited to spend time with Him? Are we so eager to hear His word that we’re willing to wait in line (in the church parking lot), spend money (to support His kingdom), or look a little silly (in service to those marginalized by society) in order to spend time in public praise of God?
Let observe how other people are extolled, as a reminder that God deserves all the glory we can give Him – and more. Let us ask ourselves: are we openly glorifying Jesus; or will His creation have to do our job for us? After all, He is the original – and righteous – “Rock Star”!