Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Monday, March 21, 2016

Which crowd?

Yesterday was Palm Sunday, the day of Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem. People lined the streets yelling "Hosanna" and waved palm branches. I have heard many preachers and teachers say that the same crowd was crying "crucify Him" five days later on Friday. I have always wondered about that. No one knows for sure. I myself find it difficult to believe that people could turn on Jesus so quickly. I am sure it is possible that some of them were in both crowds, but no one knows for sure..... so I am going to stick to my belief that it was two different crowds, at least for the most part.

  Since this is Holy Week, I have been trying to gear my thoughts on Jesus' last week before He was crucified. And as I have thought, I had something come to my mind: If I had lived back then, which crowd would I have been in? Would I have been waving palm branches and praising Him as He rode into Jerusalem, or would I have been in  the crowd screaming for Him to be crucified? Would I have run and hid like His disciples? Would I have been screaming to have Barabbas released instead of Jesus, or would I have been one of the faithful watching the events with horror and sadness?

  We are sometimes too hard on the people in the Bible. The Jews were waiting for a Messiah to deliver them from Rome. One can't blame them. After eight years under a president who has no respect for moral and Christian values, we Americans are longing and hoping for someone to come along and make it all better...... and it looks like most people in the Republican party want Barabbas.......(no, I am not saying Ted Cruz is Jesus, but he IS the Christian)....But seriously, the people in that day were in need of and were expecting a political Savior..... not a guy who expected them to just keep under Roman law and "give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar". To them, He was a disappointment.

  They had no idea in their intense desire and passion to have a political savior, they were passing up a much greater Savior. They wanted to be free from Rome, but He could free them from so much more than an earthly tyrant.

 So would I have been more concerned about politics, or would I have been faithful to Jesus Christ? Which crowd would I have been part of? Which crowd would have influenced me the most?

  Not much has changed in 2000 years. People still reject Jesus because He didn't deliver what they wanted or how they wanted it. There are still two crowds, one following Jesus at any cost; and one running from Him or outright fighting Him.

 I hope had I been on this earth in Jesus' day and been there for this Holy Week, that I would have been in the right crowd. I hope I would have shouted and waved palm branches. I hope I would have been at Golgotha, weeping as they nailed my Savior to a cross.

  But it doesn't really matter what I might have or might not have done. Today, 2000 years later; the challenges are still there to be in the right crowd. Following Jesus with your all can get you ridicule, and even persecuted here in America.......though nothing like in other countries. The same Jesus still offers hope and salvation; not political deliverance. There is still a battle to follow Him when it seems He isn't doing what we need or expect; but maybe that is because we are expecting the wrong things and don't know what we truly need. Denying yourself and carrying a cross isn't popular anymore, and many churches leave that out of their teaching and beliefs.

  I have been praying lately for God to help me not to be shallow, to not be influenced by the world and culture in a way that it would stunt my spiritual growth and cause me to drift away from God. We live in a world where you can find a church that will let you do whatever you want and believe what you want and still be a Christian. It isn't easy to carry a cross and deny yourself to follow Jesus as we truly should..... but that is what it takes.

  I've already been too influenced and affected by culture and the world. This election, God has shown me what is important. I don't have to vote, if it means going against my conscience and doing what I feel is wrong for me to do. If I go out and cast a ballot for one evil to stop another evil from getting into office, am I any better than the Jews in Jesus' day; putting my hope in a political savior instead of putting my hope in Him? There's a crowd going the wrong way in this world, and in our country. I don't want to be swept up into the wrong crowd, and maybe this election would be a small thing in the grand scheme of things, but it would still be a step in the wrong direction. It would still be joining the wrong crowd for the wrong reasons.

  I have also been praying for God to help me know what He wants for my life. I don't want to do anything because my church says to. I don't want to do anything because Christians across the country or world say I should. I want everything in my life to be guided by Him; from how I vote and who I vote for, to what I view and what I wear.

  There is no way of knowing what crowd I would have been in during that last week of Jesus' ministry; but I can do my best with God's help to always be in the right crowd here and now......even if it is a smaller crowd than the one going the other way.



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