Luke 19:1-10, 28-48; Mark 11:1-25; Matthew 21:1-22; John 12:12-19
Can you feel the excitement? Jesus is entering Jerusalem riding on the back of a donkey. People are running to meet him, waving palm branches and shouting, “Hosanna”. They had heard Jesus just raised Lazarus from the dead, they knew about the many miracles he had performed, and they knew they were on the threshold of something wonderful. The excitement was contagious.
In the next few days we will read how quickly the excitement died and how these same people wanted Jesus dead. But let’s consider this moment, the Triumphal Entry.
Just why were these people so excited to see Jesus? They made a “red carpet” out of their coats and waved palm branches like pompons at a football game. Their adoration was sincere. But they were adoring Jesus for the wrong reasons. We know they believed Jesus was there to conquer Rome, to recapture Jerusalem from their enemies. They believed Jesus was there to become their flesh and blood king. The might have been sincere, but they were wrong and their belief could not stand up to the realities of life. The emotion they felt at seeing Jesus didn’t reach deep into their souls.
My prayer is that each of us will take inventory. Why are we – why am I – following Jesus? Do we see him as someone who can get us ahead in our careers or guarantee a loving relationship with that perfect spouse? Do we follow him so that we don’t get cancer? Or so we can avoid hell? Do we go to church each Sunday to get our spiritual high for the week? Do we sing the praise songs in order to feel something?
Here’s just what I think. Jesus deserves to be followed because he is God, his word is true, and he went to the cross so we could follow him. He doesn’t promise an easy life on this earth. In fact, he’s honest to say life on this earth can get pretty ugly. But he does promise to go with us, strengthen us, and to bless us along the way. He offers a clean slate to anyone who will accept it. Jesus wants us to know him, to know the Father, to be led by the Holy Spirit. And he wants to spend eternity with us. We just need to understand that that can only happen on his terms.
If you are following Jesus for what he can do for you, you are following him for the wrong reasons. Let’s follow Jesus because of WHO he is. Because he deserves it.
Dearest Jesus, it would have been pretty awesome to be a part of that parade the day you rode into Jerusalem. Thank you for inspiring the writers of the gospels to include this account in Scripture. God, I pray that you would speak to each of us. May we determine to follow you for the right reasons. May our faith be firmly established in you. And may we continue to follow you no matter what our circumstance of life.