Crowding In

palm-branchLast Sunday we celebrated Palm Sunday and this Friday we will be commemorating Good Friday. Today I find myself in between these two sacred days of the Christian faith. I also can find myself between two crowds. One crowd shouts “Hosanna!” while the other crowd demands “Crucify Him!” In which crowd do I find myself?

 

First, I observe the “Hosanna!” crowd that congregated along the road Jesus traveled upon His arrival to Jerusalem. The complete narrative regarding Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem can be read in Matthew 21:1-11, but I am focusing upon only a few of the verses.

The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them, and brought
the donkey and the colt, and laid their coats on them; and He sat on
the coats.
Most of the crowd
spread their coats in the road, and others
were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road.
The crowds
going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting,
“Hosanna to the Son of David;
B
LESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD
;
Hosanna in the highest!”
When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying,
“Who is this?” And
the crowds
were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus,
from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Matthew 21:6-11
(underlining is my emphasis)

The “Hosanna!” crowd included people who were not necessarily residents of Jerusalem. The majority of this crowd probably were people coming to the city for Passover. Very likely they had heard about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead and they saw the potential of Jesus being the Messiah. They expressed their enthusiasm by waving palm branches.

sword-mf

The “Hosanna!” crowd was a positive crowd and I would desire to be a part of it. In contrast, the “Crucify Him!” crowd was a more negative group. I do not feel that this crowd would be worthy of my attention. In book of Luke I read the details of Jesus being brought before Pilate and Herod. Again, I am only quoting a few specific verses.

but they (the crowd) kept on calling out, saying, “Crucify, crucify Him!”
And he (Pilate) said to them (the crowd) the third time, “Why, what evil
has this man done? I have found in Him no guilt demanding death;
therefore I will punish Him and release Him.” But they (the crowd)
were insistent, with loud voices asking that He be crucified. And
their (the crowd’s) voices began to prevail. And Pilate pronounced
sentence that their demand be granted.
Luke 23:21-24
(underlining is my emphasis)

Looking more closely at the scripture quoted above, I notice in verse 18 of Luke 23 that it says “With one voice they cried out.” An assembly of people in agreement regarding an opinion is more readily heard in contrast to the voice of only one person. Another thing I notice about this crowd in verse 21 is that they “they kept on calling out.” Persistence pays off and this becomes evident in verse 24 that says “their voices began to prevail.” Numbers and persistence can influence the outcome of a situation.

This particular crowd is first mentioned in Luke 22:47 as the crowd who came with Judas to the Mount of Olives when he betrayed Jesus. According to verse 22, these people were the chief priests, officers of the temple guard and elders of the people. These men were residents of Jerusalem and they had been plotting and planning against Jesus for a period of time. The “Crucify Him!” crowd was a contrast to the spontaneous travelers of the “Hosanna!” crowd. I notice that instead of waving palm branches, they carried swords and clubs in their hands.

These two crowds were not made up of unstable people who chose to praise Jesus one day and punish Him another. Both crowds had their own agendas and both crowds were present all week. I suspect each crowd became more convicted of their opinions as time went one. A crowd can be right or it can be wrong. In either case, a crowd is powerful and influential. The “Hosanna!” crowd proclaimed Jesus as a king while the “Crucify Him!” crowd portrayed Him as a criminal.

 

peopleAlthough I certainly was not alive over 2000 years ago when these crowds gathered around Jesus, I still encounter crowds today. On a daily basis, I may find the busyness of business crowding into my life more than I encounter crowds of people. Worries can crowd out the thoughts in my mind that should be occupied with Jesus. I say that I want to be among the “Hosanna!” crowd rather than the “Crucify Him!” crowd, but do I live my life according to this statement? Does my attitude show the crowd around me that I make it a priority to praise the Lord in all things at all times or does my behavior cause the surrounding crowd to think I crucify, or put to death, the plans and purposes of the Lord? These questions cause me to do some serious thinking!

My Reader, with which crowd do you mingle? What message is your lifestyle shouting to the crowd around you? Last Sunday we all were part of the “Hosanna!” crowd. By this Friday will we allow the circumstances of the past few days to influence us to join the “Crucify Him!” crowd? Will be ready on Sunday to join the “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today!” crowd and proclaim the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ?

Joyfully,
Cheryl
gold apple new

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