The Road to Resurrection // Cheers of the Crowd

By Pastor Nate Powell

As we head toward the Easter season, Pastor Nate is writing a series of articles that lead us to the season in which we celebrate the cross and the empty tomb. This is article 1 of 5.

 The crowd was loud. Cheering. Dancing. Waving branches. The rumored king was coming to Jerusalem and he was riding on a donkey. It was a direct fulfillment of prophecy, and the people were overjoyed. Now this king would arrive who would throw off the Roman rule and establish the Jewish throne forever. Matthew 21 records the joyous events of that day, and the resounding word of worship that day was “Hosanna! Hosanna!”

Little did the people know that within the next 48 hours, the cries of joy would turn to confusion. Why? Because Jesus came and defied the expectations of the people. He did not go and sit on a throne. Instead he did the work of challenging the powers and authorities that misrepresented the Lord.

  • He drove the moneychangers from the temple, calling for prayer over economic interests. (Matt 21:12-17)
  • He cursed a fig tree to prophesy what was found in Jerusalem was a fruitless tree. (Matt 21:18-22)
  • He directly challenged the Jewish leaders in the temple to their faces because they were (in his words) “blind guides” and “hypocrites”. (Matt 23:1-36)
  • He spoke of the end of Jerusalem and of the Temple, and that when people saw the warning signs of his prophecy, they were to flee from the coming violence. (Matt 24:1-28)
  • He spoke of the end of the ages, when the judgement of God would come and when those who follow Jesus would need to be found to be ready. (Matt 24:29-25:46)

If Jesus was looking to keep the popularity going, to win friends and influence people, then he was doing a terrible job at it. But that is not what Jesus was doing. He was on a specific mission, and a central theme of that mission was to speak and preach the truth, even if that truth would not tickle ears or delight the crowds.

Understand that Jesus, as great and beautiful and wonderful of a Savior that he is, does not win followers by false or pretending means. He speaks the truth. He speaks of right and wrong. He speaks of a coming judgement and a new home with him that he is making for all who believe in him. Those who could not bear the weight of the truth would walk away.

We, as his followers, should expect that when we hear the voice of Jesus, for him to speak truth to us, and that his truth would change us rather than us changing his truth. There is much pressure on Christians and on the church today to change the truth rather than convict by defining sin and holding out the remedy to sin that is offered in Jesus. If we yield to our culture, then we are not following in the steps of the savior. Faced with death, he did not yield on the truth. Neither should we. Even if it means losing the cheers of the crowd.