This is one of those theories that defy explanation. Like many people in the latter part of the 20th century, I played a game version of the idea known as Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. My friends and I would try to connect other actors to this very prolific star. I believe the game could also be played with Tom Hanks or Meryl Streep. All are very popular and have been cast in nearly 100 films each. Which makes the connections between them and other actors easy.
When the game was very popular, ABC investigated the theory by finding two people in New York City who were complete strangers, and using their connections, showed how interrelated we all are. One was a boxer the other a dancer. Over the course of an hour, viewers watched as the boxer and dancer discovered the one person who knew them both.
When I have considered people I have met throughout my life, I realize that I am one or two degrees away from actors, scientists and even a president or two. I don’t believe this is a new theory about how we interact with one another. And I am not sure if social media has made it easier to make connections or not.
Still, I wonder how many people were able to say they knew Jesus. A Samaritan woman invited all the people in her village to come and hear the man who knew everything she ever did (John 4:29). A Centurion recognized Jesus’ authority and asked for healing for his servant (Luke 7: 1-10 or Matthew 8: 5-13). Friends of a man who was paralyzed heard that Jesus was near and brought their friend to Him to be healed (Mark 2: 1-12). Jesus taught at the Temple, on the shore and in the fields of Israel (Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 and Sermon on the Plain in Luke 6). He fed crowds and drew crowds as he traveled throughout the region. Many knew him or knew of Him.
Jesus was a source of conversation for people on the roads from Egypt to Rome. Those who traveled in caravans, family groups or pilgrimages to Jerusalem, talked about Jesus: the places he visited, the miracles He performed, and the ways He brought the Scripture to life. To some he was popular. For others he was notorious.
And each time we remember His mission and ministry, by retelling His story, we also share the names of those He called to be His disciples. We lift up those he healed, forgave and blessed. We bring new life to the disciples who journeyed with Him, the people who followed Him and the ones who received His grace and forgiveness. We affirm the connections made by the 72 Jesus sent out to prepare for His arrival in towns and villages (Luke 10). As those tasked with the Great Commission (Matthew 28), we are called to share the Good News of our Lord and Savior. May we continue to make new connections until all know the Lord as our personal Savior. May it be so. And Amen.