Summary: Fickle folks do not make faithful followers.
Title: The Trouble with Being Fickle
Text: John 12:12-19
Thesis: Fickle folks do not make faithful followers.
In Pop-Culture: Do you remember Milli Vanilli? They sold 30 million singles and 10 million albums before they were discovered to be lip-syncing pop fraudsters and became the laughing stock of pop entertainment
In the Sports Arena: CBS senior sports writer, Clark Judge, wrote on CBS Sportline.com in September of 2006 in defense of Jake Plummer, “All he’s done in four seasons with the Broncos is win 34 of 46 starts and take the team to the playoffs every year. So what’s wrong with that? Plus, he’s 3-0 against New England since joining the Broncos, including a playoff defeat of the Pats in January when they were defending champs.
OK, so he stunk in the season opener. You mean to tell me John Elway never had one he’d like to throw back?
We here in the Denver area are familiar with the “fickle finger of blame” which can get you traded or replaced from one week to the next.
In Politics: Remember when Howard Dean was running for the Democratic nomination for president and let out a weird squeal at the conclusion of a speech in Iowa? He immediately went from being the darling of the party to the party pariah? No one knows for sure if he was just high-spirited or having a melt-down. But, we do know that one political blooper can change a political landscape.
Fickle people are marked by erratic change in attraction and affection. Fickle people love you or hate you depending on if you are performing satisfactorily and meeting their expectations… in which case you remain the next great hope. But heaven help you if you blow it!
The crowd that welcomed Jesus as he entered the city of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday was a fickle crowd. It was a ticker-tape parade…
• Jesus was the parade… Jesus rode astraddle a donkey down the center of the street.
• Onlookers waved palms and scattered them along with their coats on the roadway as Jesus passed by.
• Confetti filled the air. Bands played.
• Children sat on their father’s shoulders so they could see.
• The crowd on the left side of the street began a wave which raced down the street ahead of Jesus and then jumped to the right side of the street and raced back to meet Jesus.
• The people shouted, “Praise to God! Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hail to the King of Israel!”
Five days later… the enthusiastic and joyful crowd turned on Jesus. The air was charged with disappointment and hatred as the same people who acclaimed him King of the Jews changed their chant to, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
How quickly emotions and attitudes change when people do not meet our expectations.
The people who lined the sides of the street had come to Jerusalem for numerous reasons… some of the folks were vendors.
For the sake of creative and sanctified imagination, let’s call them:
I. The Flea Market People
Jewish historian, Josephus purports that as many as 3 million religious pilgrims were gathered in the city to mark the Passover Celebration. We can get something of the sense of what it was like by bringing to mind the Muslim Hajj.
Just as Jewish people visited their holy site during Passover every year, all able-bodied Muslims who can afford to do so, are required to make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime. Every year when pilgrims do their hajj to Mecca, the city which is normally at 1.4 million people, triples in size as 2 million pilgrims visit the holy site.
In anticipation of the influx of religious pilgrims, many had come to the city early to prepare to capitalize on the needs of those who were coming to Passover. Just as vendors will prepare for the influx of people who will converge on our city for the 2008 Democratic Convention, vendors prepared for those who would come to Passover. They had lamb, matzo balls, shish kabobs, Passover products, Passover T-Shirts, currency exchange booths… if it was something a Passover crowd might need, they provided it.
These folks were there because there were services that were needed and the opportunity to make some money providing those services. They had little or no interest in Jesus apart from the fact that he may have been good for business.
I think to suggest that these people were fickle, would be incorrect. I don’t believe they were fickle… they were not running hot and cold for or against Jesus. These people would more accurately be described as “indifferent” to Jesus.
The trouble or problem with indifference is that indifference doesn’t care one way or the other… indifference lacks passion. Indifference is disinterest and apathy. To be indifferent toward Jesus Christ is to be without any inclination to respond with either acceptance or rejection.