Summary: Discussion about changing attitudes and perceptions about Jesus so people can see Him for who He really is.

Changing Minds about Jesus

Matthew 21:7-11; Mark 15:6-15

April 5, 2009


Me: One of the most challenging parts of being a pastor is confronting erroneous ideas about Jesus.

He’s just a nice spiritual teacher, or He’s a mystical guru who happened to get caught up in the politics of the time and got Himself killed by the political hacks in power at the time.

He’s seen as a failure by the Moonies, as the brother of Satan by many Mormons, and as the perfect example of a vegan by other vegans.

I guess they missed the part where He ate fish…

I come across these things all the time, whether it’s in my personal interactions with people, or in my research, or even just reading the paper.

If you want an education in what people think about Jesus sometime, just read the opinion page in the Aberdeen American News.

At times I’ve had to respond to some of those things because their erroneous ideas would lead others astray and keep them from find the truth about Jesus.

And believing a false idea about Jesus could mean that that person misses out on what it means to be forgiven and have a home in heaven.

In other words, believing the wrong things about Jesus can cost someone eternity in heaven.

And I don’t want that.

We: Obviously I’m not the only one in this room who has run into false ideas about Jesus.

I think all of us have, and we may not have even recognized it sometimes.

Some of the ideas about Jesus are subtle, and may kinda sneak under the radar.

But along with me, I hope that you’re concerned about how people see Jesus, because of how it can affect someone’s ability to put their faith in Him.

God: Our Scripture passage for today talks about how some people rejected truth for falsehood about Jesus.

Over the last week of His life, there was a major shift in opinion regarding Jesus, and who He really was.

This shift in opinion is indicative of how our world thinks about Jesus today.

Matthew 21:7-11 (pp. 697-698) –

7 They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

"Hosanna to the Son of David!"

"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"

"Hosanna in the highest!"

10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, "Who is this?"

11 The crowds answered, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee."

You can just imagine the scene, can’t you? Cheering crowds, people throwing their coats and tree branches on the ground, people trying to get Jesus’ autograph…

But look at what the crowd was saying just five days later…

Mark 15:6-15 (p. 721) –

6 Now it was the custom at the Feast to release a prisoner whom the people requested. 7 A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. 8 The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.

9 "Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?" asked Pilate, 10 knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.

12 "What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?" Pilate asked them.

13 "Crucify him!" they shouted.

14 "Why? What crime has he committed?" asked Pilate.

But they shouted all the louder, "Crucify him!"

15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

It took a space of only five days for the crowd to decide that their previous opinion of Jesus as the Messiah-King should be changed to Jesus as the common criminal.

Five days between the truth of Jesus as King and the falsehood of Jesus as criminal.

Five days between “We love you!” and “We hate you!”

Five days between “We want you” and “We want you dead.”

Five days.

If there had been an election on Sunday, Jesus would have been elected President or King, or whatever there was to be had.

On Friday He was being executed.

What’s the deal with that?

The deal is that at the end of the week, people had the wrong idea about Jesus.

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