This Day In History: 0000-04-14

April 14 – John 12:12-19

The next day, the news that Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem swept through the city.  A large crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches and went down the road to meet Him.  They shouted, 
“Praise God! Blessings on the One who comes in the name of the Lord! Hail the King of Israel!”
Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said:“Don’t be afraid, people of Jerusalem. Look, your King is coming, riding on a donkey’s colt.”  His disciples didn’t understand at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into His glory, they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written about Him.  
Many in the crowd had seen Jesus call Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, and they were telling others about it.  That was the reason so many went out to meet him – because they had heard about this miraculous sign. 
Then the Pharisees said to each other, “There’s nothing we can do. Look, everyone has gone after Him!”

It’s hard to imagine how this Palm Sunday scene turned so quickly into the Good Friday scene isn’t it?  Less than one week before the people of Israel stood shouting, “Crucify Him!” they had flocked to Him, sought Him and shouted instead, “Praise God! (Or, Hosanna!) Blessings on the One who comes in the name of the Lord! Hail the King of Israel!”

How did a nation shift so completely in such a short amount of time?

I believe the answer is found in that last sentence in this passage as well as in Mark’s account of Jesus’s trial before Pilate.  In Mark 15:11 the Bible says, “But at this point the leading priests stirred up the crowd to demand the release of Barabbas instead of Jesus…”

Isn’t it amazing what a few people can do when they are intent on ruining someone?  All throughout the Gospels we see the Pharisees and other religious leaders opposing Jesus, doing their very best to bring him down.  Why?  Because He represented a threat to them.  He upset the religious system they had created to serve their own vanity.  They had become completely wrapped up in their traditions and in their books upon books of endless laws.  These were regulations they had created through the years to serve their own purposes and they had added them to the God-given law of Moses. So consumed, were they by these laws that when the Messiah, the very fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets they were supposed to know so well stood before them, they couldn’t recognize Him!

The people of Israel, no different than their ancestors had been throughout the Old Testament, swayed with the wind.  No real conviction of their own.  One minute following Jesus and the next turning against Him.  One day believing He was the Messiah and a few days later nailing Him to a cross.  Can we really claim to be much different?  Have you ever witnessed how quickly a group of believers will turn on one of their own when a few “leading priests” start to stir up the crowd? Most often because the offending party represents some sort of threat to the traditions and regulations they cling to in their vanity?  Would we really have been any different given the chance to stand in that crowd on that day so long ago?  Or would we have shouted along with them, “Crucify Him!”

The Bible tells us we are supposed to be different, we are supposed to stand out.  The world is supposed to know us by our LOVE!  It is supposed to be so glaringly different from the rest of the world that people can’t help but take note.  Let’s resolve to be different than the people of Israel.  Let’s not blindly follow the crowd, but instead immerse ourselves so deeply into the Word that we will not be easily led astray by distortions or manipulations.  Let’s be so deeply in love with our Heavenly Father that His love fills us up to overflowing and pours out on all our fellow believers.  Let’s be so different that the world looks at us and knows, they belong to God!