John 12:12-18 (CEV)
The next day a large crowd was in Jerusalem for Passover. When they heard that Jesus was coming for the festival, they took palm branches and went out to greet him. The shouted “Hooray! God bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord! God bless the King of Israel!” Jesus found a donkey and rode on it, just as the Scriptures say, “People of Jerusalem, don’t be afraid! Your King is now coming, and he is riding on a donkey.” At first, Jesus’ disciples did not understand. But after he had been given his glory, they remembered all this. Everything had happened exactly as the Scriptures said it would.
A crowd had come to meet Jesus because they had seen him call Lazarus out of the tomb. They kept talking about him and this miracle. But the Pharisees said to each other, “There is nothing that can be done! Everyone in the world is following Jesus.”
Today is Palm Sunday. A day in which we reflect upon Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem. I want to examine the crowd that was present that particular day. For in the crowd we will find ourselves and those around us.
There were five distinctive groups of people present during the triumphal entry. These people groups were:
I. The Committed
II. The Confused
IV. The Curious
V. The Opposition
Let’s take the next few moments to examine each group and their motives for being present during this time.
"The disciples left and did what Jesus had told them to do. They brought the donkey and its colt and laid some clothes on their backs. Then Jesus got on."
The first group we want to look at is those who were committed. A committed follower of Christ is one who
follows Jesus leadership without questioning. A committed follower recognizes Jesus as Lord. In their lives we see an obedience to go where led. They understand Jesus mission of bringing a lost and dying world to new life in Him. Committed followers give willingly of themselves for the cause of Christ. We see in their lives an orientation towards the needs of others. A committed follower acts as an extension of Jesus Christ.
The second group we will look at is the confused.
"When Jesus came to Jerusalem, everyone in the city was excited and asked, “Who can this be?”
The crowd answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Matthew 21:10-11 (CEV)
The confused don’t recognize Jesus for who He truly is. They may see Jesus as a good man, a prophet or a wise man. The confused don’t understand God’s plan for their life. They may confess that Jesus is Lord, but yet believe that their works and not God’s grace will save them. Unfortunately our churches are full of people who fit this mold. The confused often have the wrong intentions. Many of those present that day, thought that Jesus was coming to overthrow the Roman government and take political control of the country. Many people are the same today, they may see God as their piggy bank or their life raft, but not as their reason for living and not as their Savior and Lord.
In the crowd we also see the presence of pretenders.
"He had worked a lot of miracles among the people, but they were still not willing to have faith in Him."
John 12:37 (CEV)
The pretenders are often present, but have no real commitment to Jesus. They want to be seen, but will not surrender control of their lives. We see this many times in those who come out of habit or routine. Some people come to church to get someone off their back or just to ease their conscience, but ultimately they are going through the motions. These people are spiritually blind knowing very little about Jesus Christ or His plan for their lives. Pretenders are easily influenced by the actions of others. They will take the path of least resistance and will let the approval of others dictate their level of commitment. The church in Laodecia would be a church of pretenders, they had the name, they went through the motions, but their lives and hearts were lukewarm at best. The message to the pretenders...they make God sick.
"A crowd had come to meet Jesus because they had seen Him call Lazarus out of the tomb. They kept talking about Him, and this miracle."
John 12:17-18 (CEV)
The curious that day, thought of Jesus along much the same lines as the circus or a magic show. Their minds were permeated with a wonder about what amazing thing Jesus would do next. The curious are neither committed or opposed. They may have heard some interesting things about Jesus, and just want to find out for themselves. They are seeking amazing experiences both emotional and paranormal. They are not necessarily looking for truth, just what feels right for the moment.
"When Jesus was starting down the Mount of Olives, his large crowd of disciples were happy and praised God because of all the miracles they had seen. They shouted, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory to God.”
Some Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, make your disciples stop shouting!”
Luke 19:37-39 (CEV)
"…The Pharisees had already given orders for the people not to have anything to do with anyone who had faith in Jesus. And besides, the leaders liked praise from others more than they liked praise from God.
John 12:42b-43 (CEV)
The opposition seeks to promote it’s own interests. Those in opposition to Jesus are consumed with seeking the attention of people. They oppose a commitment to Christ, because commitment requires change. Commitment requires the focus to be on Jesus and not ourselves. An opponent seeks to destroy the message of Jesus Christ. They actively seek to destroy those who would promote Jesus Christ in their lives.
The question now becomes vey simple. Which One Are You?
Jesus Mourns For The Faces In The Crowd.
"When Jesus came closer and could see Jerusalem, he cried and said: It is too bad that today your people don’t know what will bring them peace! Now it is hidden from them."
Luke 19:41-42 (CEV)
No matter which face is yours, Jesus loves you. He gave His life for you and He rose again that you might have eternal life. As Jesus went through the crowd He saw each and every face, He knew each and every story. Jesus sees your face today and He knows your story...will you allow Him to be the Lord and Savior of your life?