Nothing in history spread like Jesus of Nazareth. Before social media had a name, a man in a backwater outpost of the Roman Empire owned networking and embodied what every corporation desires: a message people want to forward, credible links (frequent O.T. references), lines into networks, unforgettable use of stories, and memorable visual aids.
Small wonder that after all the opposition to Jesus, he remains the most popular person on the Internet, has the most interactive pages on social media . . . and just rewrote a few television statistics with a groundbreaking miniseries on the History Channel.
Last week when The Bible series debuted on the History Channel, two airings drew 27 million sets of eyes. To put that in context, Oprah's show averaged 7 million viewers in her last year on air. On cable or on network television, The Bible was that night's most-watched show-the most-watched cable show so far this year. The History Channel's highest-rated show ever. Anyone canvassing media headlines the next day saw that most of them registered abject surprise. The Bible? Really? Report after report gushed over the numbers, while many in the entertainment world were astonished.
As a Christian in Silicon Valley, I have no problem with uniting Jesus and social media, God and television, the Bible and games. Do you? Jesus was accused of hanging with shallow types in wrong places, but he's still in the business of going to people where they are; still in the business of thinking way outside the box. So when we proposed a video game based on The Bible series to Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, no one blinked.
No one blinked because to put the game on iPad, iPhone and Facebook, is to follow a classic playbook. Just as Jesus taught in parables-using images people know to give new insight-Light the Way: The Bible uses images and music from the TV series. In the way Mark and Roma know that entertainment has to entertain, we're well aware that games better be fun. Game players search for hidden objects, solve puzzles and find differences in side-by-side scene comparisons. If we do our job, the world's greatest book opens in new ways, from kids to parents to grandparents. People have fun and share it. More people play.
Jesus Daily, a Facebook page with encouraging posts, has more than 16 million fans. Until he resigned and shut down his Twitter, Pope Benedict XVI had 1.6 million followers. Alistair Begg's sermons on mobile devices register more than 20 million downloads.
God hardly is stuck in the past. He's hardly outdated or irrelevant. Like Jesus speaking to the woman at the well, He comes to us where we are. He can use anyone, anything, to reach us. He loves us that much.