Summary: Faithful Christians follow Christ whether it is trendy or not, because we know that in the end Jesus wins... and so do we!
Title: Into the Crowd with Jesus
Text: Mark 11:1-11
Thesis: Faithful Christians follow Christ whether it is trendy or not, because we know that in the end, Jesus wins!
I did a quick check on Thursday to see what the top ten internet search subjects were on April 2 and this is what I found: (I confess that despite thinking of myself as fairly well informed… I must be out of touch when it comes to subjects of interest for internet searches.)
1. ’American Idol’ -- Megan Joy falls short of the Top 8.
2. ’Guiding Light’ -- Soap to end in September after 72 years on air.
3. Lady GaGa -- Hits number 1 on Billboard with ’Poker Face’.
4. ’Biggest Loser’ -- Castoff Nicole preparing for wedding.
5. Yellow Fever -- Mass grave found in Alabama from 1870 Yellow Fever epidemic.
6. ’Life on Mars’ -- Sam’s time runs out at series finale.
7. Diablo Cody -- ’Juno’ writer joins guild of female writers called the ’Fempire’.
8. Mariah Carey -- Celebrates her 40th birthday!
9. Cigarettes – State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) tax hike motivates smokers to quit… problem – it seems in order to fund the program the government needs to recruit 22.4 million new smokers by 2017.
10. Isaiah Washington -- Evicted from LA home. (http://hotsearches.aol.com/)
There is no mention of Jesus as being among the top ten internet searches this week. But in all four gospel accounts of Palm Sunday, Jesus was the man of the hour in Jerusalem.
I. Jesus enjoyed unprecedented popularity among the people.
Many in the crowd spread their coats on the road ahead of Jesus, and others cut leafy branches in the fields and spread them along the way. He was in the center of the procession, and the crowds all around him were shouting. Mark 11:8-10
In Matthew 21:10-11 it says the entire city was stirred as Jesus entered the city and people asked, “Who is this?”
In John’s account, when all the people heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead… that was the main reason so many were out to meet him, because they had heard of this miracle. John 12:9 and 18
For a time I entertained the thought that the reason Jesus was so popular was that he was the only game in town. I have wondered if crowds would flock to see him today… after all we are a much more sophisticated people. But are we?
On January 20, 2009, the Huffington Post reported on President Obama’s Inauguration under the caption, Crowds of 1 Million or More Descend on Washington. More than a million people crammed onto the National Mall and people stood 10 deep along the nearly 2 mile long parade route. And hundreds gathered on rooftops and balconies to watch the President elect pass by. At the swearing in, people stood shoulder to shoulder between the Washington Monument and the Capital Building and further away at the Lincoln Memorial and around the Reflecting Pool people watched on large T V screens.
In comparison, President Ronald Reagan’s inauguration drew 500,000 people in 1981. (Nafeesa Syeed, Obama’s Inauguration: Crowds of 1 Million of More Descend on Washington, Huffington Post, January 20, 2009)
So why did the people flock to see Jesus? Why was Jesus so popular? Why would Jesus have been the number one internet search on the day after the Triumphal Entry?
II. Jesus gave people hope! (Jesus made an incredible political statement with a donkey as his transportation of choice.)
And then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it, and he sat on it. Mark 11:1-7
Most of us would not think it becoming of a hope-inspiring world leader to arrive on a donkey.
• Project Donkey Photo
None of the G-20 leaders would have arrived in London riding on a donkey this past week.
We expect a hope-inspiring world leader to arrive in something like this:
• Project President Obama’s Limo
But Jesus’ choice of a donkey electrified the crowd because he was making an incredible announcement about himself. Jesus announcing that he was the fulfillment of the Old Testament messianic prophecy found in Zachariah 9:9-10: Rejoice greatly, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey. I will remove the battle chariots from Israel and the warhorses from Jerusalem, and I will destroy all the weapons used in battle. Your king will bring peace to the nations and his realm will stretch from sea to sea… to the ends of the earth. Zachariah 9:9-10
We are no different from the people of Jesus’ day. When despair looms large, we are all drawn to those who inspire hope in our hearts. If someone came along with the credentials and claimed to be able to deliver the peoples of the world from all that is despairing… that person would enjoy unprecedented popularity and worldwide renown.