Summary: A sermon for Palm Sunday.
“Pop Star or Savior?”
What is going on here?
I appears that a whole crowd of people have fallen head over heels in love with Jesus!
The people are infatuated.
It’s as if Jesus were a pop star or something!
“Many people spread out their clothes on the road while others spread branches cut from the fields.”
Those in front of Him were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!”
It’s not hard to imagine a wild kind of “Woodstock” scene when we read about Palm Sunday.
The people are partying!
The streets are overflowing as folks are streaming into town for the Passover Festival and Jesus has become the headlining act.
He is the star of the show.
He on top of the charts.
He is the coming King—the One Who will reign on David’s throne.
Jesus will defeat Israel’s enemies with a rock show-like barrage of pyrotechnics.
Everything is going to be alright now.
The King has come!
It’s such an ecstatic atmosphere that crowds of adoring fans are taking off their clothes and spreading them on the dusty, stony Middle Eastern Road in order for a donkey carrying Jesus to ride over them.
Do you think they ran home saying: “I’ll never wash this coat again!”?
This is a big deal.
This is something you do in the midst of an emotional frenzy.
You don’t cut branches off trees to wave in the streets for just anyone.
And what were they shouting?
“Hosanna” is a Hebrew word that mixes exuberant praise to God with the prayer that God will save God’s people, and do it right away!
You know, if we stick with the rock star or pop star theme for a minute we can, perhaps fairly easily, sum up what happens…rather quickly to the frenzy and crazed love of their fans.
Let’s see, Davey Jones of the 1960’s Beatles parody band—the Monkeys, who passed away several years ago—probably caused quite a stir for a while.
Then there was David Cassidy from the Partridge Family who died in 2017 of organ failure due to alcoholism.
Later, his younger brother, Shawn Cassidy, had a run with the “teen idol” thing.
He was on a t-v show called the Hardy Boys, and even had a hit song on the radio called the “Do-run-run.”
My oldest sister, Wendy, had a big crush on him for a few months when we were kids.
She also had a short-lived infatuation with another guy named Leif Garrett.
In the 1980’s we had The New Kids on the Block.
They were huge and then they were gone.
Even Michael Jackson was a has-been for the last…say…20 years of his career.
Recently, a girl in our neighborhood wrote in chalk on her sidewalk: “I ‘heart’” teen actor “Noah Schnapp forever.”
Do you think so?
On the first Palm Sunday, so long ago a big crowd of people seemed to “fall in love” with Jesus.
His fans could hardly contain themselves.
Psychologist Robert Johnson writes that “Romantic love, or falling in love [or emotional infatuation] is different from Real Loving.”
Real loving is steady.
It’s not here today and gone tomorrow.
There is something a bit overblown and bigger-than-life about infatuation or falling in love.
It’s like an emotional roller coaster.
It’s got a lot of excitement.
It can be fun.
But it’s short-lived.
The ride does come to an abrupt halt.
The kind of love we heap upon pop idols is a superficial kind of love.
Once the singer or actor begins to age a bit, or after their show is canceled…
…or we grow up…
…our love fades.
It’s not real love is it?
Actually, there is not much about it that is real at all.
And that was one of the big problems on Palm Sunday.
There wasn’t a lack of love for Jesus.
The problem was that the love was the superficial kind.
It was smoke and mirrors.
It was like a vapor or fog that disappears by mid-morning.
It was overblown; then it was gone.
Within a week, this acclaim for Jesus will turn into humiliation, mockery, hatred and then murder.
Talk about a fickle crowd.
What is our love like for Jesus?
Is it real or is it superficial?
Does it stick with us even when things don’t go our way?
Jesus seeks us out in love, and we are often found by Him when things aren’t going well…
…when we are facing a crisis…
…when we are at a cross-road…
…when we have come to the point where we realize that the emotional highs this world has to offer are not real, not lasting, not worth much.
And then we finally accept the free offer of faith in Christ.