Editor's Note: Each Sunday, DrydenWire.com publishes a submitted article in a weekly series from Pastor Brian Cole. If you would have a question for Brian or would like to learn more about him, visit his website or his official Facebook page.
Palm Sunday - Personal responses to Christs Week of Passion - Part 3
The last couple weeks we have been looking at the personal responses people who encountered Christ the week before the Cross had. We continue with more responses this week.
The third response we get is Fickleness – and we get it from the Great Multitude which followed Christ from Jericho up to Jerusalem. They tore down palm branches, laid they're garments in the road, and cried “Hosanna, to the Son of David... blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.” Their cry signaled the fact that they believed that Jesus was indeed their coming Messiah, and they believed... THIS WAS THE DAY in which they would make Him King.
They escorted Jesus into Jerusalem, with expectations that Jesus was going to go OVER-THROW ROME, seize control of Israel from Herod, and assume political leadership/rule over Israel.
What happened was radically different from what they expected.
- Instead of going to the King’s house, Jesus went to God’s house.
- Instead of Jesus correcting the political injustice, Jesus went to the Temple to correct the spiritual injustice.
The Response of the Great Multitude – is what I would like to refer to as – Emotional Fickleness. This same group of people who followed Christ to seek His coronation, would assemble later in the week to demand His crucifixion. This same group of people who loved Him on day one of His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, would hate Him on day four of His week of passion. I call this group of people the fish and chips crowd. They weren’t motivated to follow Jesus out of love – they followed Him out of personal expectation that He would do something else to bless them. The fourth response to Christ we see during this week of passion is ANGER – and it comes from those who sat at the tables of the money-changers; buying and selling salvation for a price.
These merchants were financially motivated, while being politically and spiritually neutral.
- They didn’t care if Jesus came and went into the temple. ...They weren’t concerned with what the Chief Priests and religious leaders felt or thought about Christ.
- They were neutral on the subject of Christ – until Jesus messed up their lifestyle and living.
The Bible says that after Jesus turned over their tables... TWICE... and rebuked them for exploiting those who came to worship God – THEY WERE SORE and DISPLEASED. They got mad at Jesus for interfering in their lives.
During the short 12 years I have been In Christ I have observed this response often. There are a lot of people who are neutral on the subject of Christ. They don’t care if you and I go to church. They don’t care what you think or how committed you are to live for God. All that they care about is – DON’T MESS UP MY LIFESTYLE. Preach/teach whatever you want...just don’t try to correct me or interfere with the way I live. The moment Jesus intrudes into their space and begins to deal with their issues – they get mad and want to fight.
You may even find these people at church. They go to church because it benefits them in some way, but the moment you begin to introduce them to spiritual truths, and Christ begins to straighten things out in their lives – to right what is wrong – they get mad and angry. Our fifth response to Christ comes from the Chief Priests, Scribes [legal counsel concerning the Law of Moses], and Religious Leaders [members of the Sanhedrin/ Israel’s supreme court made up of 71 members who settled disputes and disagreements]. John 11:47-48 - “So the chief priests and Pharisees gathered the council and said, ‘What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away our place and our nation.”
The 5th response is – Contention by the Self-Promoting.
These religious leaders understood Christ was a miracle worker, but they refused to accept He was their Messiah because He didn’t pass their inspection.
- They would have received Him if He had been one of their own or graduated from their schools,
- They would have received Him if He would have allowed them to control Him,
- They would have received Him if He would have promised them future positions of rule in His coming kingdom...but He didn’t so they didn’t.
They were contentious because the people followed Jesus instead of them. Because Jesus came bringing a spiritual kingdom and confronted their traditions and did not protect their positions – they sought to eradicate and remove Him. Like a lot of people in life – they aren’t against Jesus, they’re just for themselves.
The 6th and 7th responses to Christ before the Cross occur in Pilate’s judgment hall; involving Pilate and the Roman Guards.
Matt. 27:24 - “So when Pilot saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.’
Pilate’s response can be the deadliest response of all. It is the response of INDIFFERENCE. It’s when we recognize the truth but we wash our hands of it. Indifference shows its hand in several ways.
- it’s revealed when you know you need to take a stand for Christ, but you don’t because it will cost you other people’s respect [you refuse to take Christ’s side],
- it’s revealed when you know you need to minister to someone in need, but you are content to let someone else do it,
- it is revealed when people are crying against Christ, criticizing Him, making assault against His name, cursing using His holy name, and you PRETEND YOU ARE UNAWARE.
Indifference comes from apathy [the attitude that you just don’t care enough to care] – But the word says, IF YOU ARE NOT FOR HIM – YOU ARE AGAINST HIM.
The last response is that of the Roman Guards – who OUT OF IGNORANCE... stripped, mocked, beat, and crucified Him. Not knowing. Not having heard. Not having seen. But, at the cross – some of those who were ignorant – God would open their eyes and they would declare, SURELY THIS IS THE SON OF GOD.
This week, I would challenge ALL of us to do an inventory of our personal response to Christ.
- Have we become distracted by selfish agendas?
- Are we eternally grateful to Christ for all He has done?
- Is our faith fickle – and we only follow Christ when it’s convenient or we have something to gain? Are we trying to live a Spiritually Neutral life – we’re not for or against Christ,
- we are just for ourselves and we don’t want Christ messing up our lifestyle?
- Are we respectful and appreciative of Christ?
- Are we a hypocrite; pretending to be what we’re not?
- How lavish is our love for Christ? What is He worth to us?
- How many times have we washed your hands of Christ; trying to remain indifferent or refusing to make a decision
- Is our indecision due to ignorance/we just didn’t know but once we’ve heard the word – we gotta make a decision.
I pray you really take a look at your response or lack of one, to Jesus Christ and what He has accomplished for us all. If you do not know Jesus I would love to talk to you. You may contact me in the many ways shown on this page.
May the Lord bless you and keep you, make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you, and give you peace.