Summary: The actions of the crowd and Jesus’ response.
Lost In the Crowd?
April 9, 2006
There were 2 crowds there on the day Jesus came riding into Jerusalem on the donkey.
1 crowd was in Jerusalem for historical reason. They had come from all over to recognize the annual religious festival of Passover. 2,700,000 people, some scholars estimate, had come to Jerusalem to remember the saving work of God 1500 years earlier when He delivered His people from slavery in Egypt and brought them out by His mighty hand. That past event, that historical act was the reason for their coming to Jerusalem. Though the people who were celebrating the Passover in Jerusalem that day hadn’t experienced God’s powerful work personally. Their ancestors had and so they went in order not to forget. They went because it was expected of them. They went to thank God for his past presence and his past activity in His people.
The second crowd there that day when Jesus came riding into town on the donkey wasn’t in Jerusalem yet, but on their way. Instead of arriving early, they were with Jesus. Jesus - the living God was leading them into Jerusalem.
John tells us a crowd had gathered around Jesus. A great crowd had heard about Jesus restoring life to a man named Lazarus and they swarmed to where Jesus was to see him and to see Lazarus (John 12:9), Because of God’s work through Jesus in the present, in the now, this crowd came together. These people went to be with Jesus to hear Him and see His healing work. And together with Jesus they made their way into town.
The first was there because of what God had done in the past. 1500 years earlier.
The second being brought and led there by what God was doing in the now.
The first there out of ritual observance - "We always celebrate the Passover."
The second arriving having seen the work of God presently in their midst.
And what happened when these 2 crowds met
Was what we call Palm Sunday.
When Jesus enters into town, the two crowds assemble into 1 large crowd; in an event we recognize and call Palm Sunday.
We’ve already talked about what Jesus was doing when he road into town that day. We said,
1. He was fulfilling prophecy.
2. He was declaring publicly who he was - Messiah.
3. He was declaring his intentions/his method of Kingship - Peace.
What I’d like to spend the next few minutes doing is asking the question, So What? What does this have to do with me? 2000 years later, why are we talking about this 1 man parade?
In coming here today, I believe you are in 1 of the 2 crowds.
Either you are here -
Crowd #1 you chose to come here because it is your religious ritual.
You were raised, or are being raised to come to this religious ritual that we call a church service. You come because you always have or you come because you feel like you should. You come because you feel guilty when you don’t. You come because of something in the past - God made himself real to you or a loved one and because of that you come. You would not describe yourself as tight with God but you were raised or are being raised to at least respect Him and the traditions His followers have.
If this isn’t you, perhaps you fit into crowd #2.
Crowd #2 you don’t have any history with church or religion.
All this church stuff is foreign to you.
All this standing
Is confusing to you. And this Jesus that we talk about is too - except that He has your attention. He is intriguing to you. You come because it’s Him and not me and not this church and not our cute kids, history, music but Him. Jesus led you here, is leading you on your journey. Just as He did for many that day as He rode into town.
No matter the crowd you find yourself in.
No matter if you are a crowd #1 or a crowd #2 person, the text reveals to us that there were some common needs, some common interest within these people.
To be human, to be alive is to have these needs and interests and as this Jesus came riding into town, these 2 groups of people - crowd #1 - there out of historical reasons and crowd #2 there because Jesus was leading them there react revealing the common needs, hurts and interests that they have.
When the 2 crowds become 1, that 1 crowd reveals this about people.
1. You and I are willing to be led. You and I, no matter our ages, play Follow the Leader. People desire, have a need to be led. In our culture people will listen to anyone who calls himself or herself an expert a doctor, a counselor, a life coach, a friend.