Half a Billion and Counting

by DanWolgemuth on January 13, 2023

His name is Cristiano Ronaldo… officially, he is a Portuguese footballer (soccer player). And, mind you, one of the finest footballers in the world, with more international goals than any other player, ever.

But what you may not know is that in November of last year, Cristiano Ronaldo passed the mark of 500 million followers on Instagram. I have 437.

Currently, Cristiano has the most followers of anyone on Instagram. That’s more followers than the entire population of the United States.

This wildly talented 37-year-old footballer with a square jaw, high cheek bones, perfectly coiffed  black hair, and a rigorous and well-documented workout routine is a magnet… as social media statistics reveal. Yes, half a billion and counting.

While I enjoy being able to enlighten my readers on the latest Instagram trends, what made this statistic stand out so vividly for me was a daily devotional journey through the book of Isaiah. Just yesterday I landed on the very familiar words that are chronicled in Isaiah 53. Read them again…

            “For he grew up before him like a young plant,

                        and like a root out of dry ground;

            he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,

                        and no beauty that we should desire him.

            He was despised and rejected by men,

                        a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;

            and as one from whom men hide their faces

                        he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (ESV)

We can fill in the blanks that the prophet couldn’t. This is Jesus. The only begotten son of God. God’s beloved.

The narrative is harsh in its clarity. No sugar coating. No beating around the bush.

No form.

No majesty.

No beauty.




And without esteem from us…


A believing mother and twelve followers. (One of whom would “unfriend” Him later.)

It was the depth of His love and not His square jaw that made Him attractive. It was His mercy and compassion that made Him glorious. It was His pursuit of justice and abundance of grace that made Him compelling.

He had no global platform. No technology boost. No sponsorship deals. No image consultants. No personal trainers.

He had a mission. A message. A commitment. And the power to transform the world.

And the level-setting reality is, that today, Cristiano Ronaldo doesn’t have the most followers in the world, Jesus does. And to think, He does it without any social media support.

Just grace and truth.

Righteously defiant. Abounding in steadfast love.

Not Cristiano. Jesus.

Not a social media phenomenon, but a life changer. Despised, not “liked”.

And Jesus invites us into that very same space. To be an unwelcome light in a dark world. To be healing salt when the world celebrates death. To give ourselves away while the measure of success is accumulation.

The contrast is real. The message is convicting.

Yes, Jesus has more followers than Cristiano. Forever followers.

Transcendent beauty… Wonderful savior. Everlasting father. Prince of peace. And yes… worthy of our worship.

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