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Faith Chat: A fickle following on Palm Sunday

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By Jake Heppner, Southbrook Baptist Church

Palm Sunday stands out to Christ’s followers as a special day of memorial and introspection as we remember the events that lead up to the fulfillment of Christ’s visitation on earth, his crucifixion and resurrection that made possible a peace between a Holy God and sinful humanity.

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Palm Sunday celebrates the events of Luke 19 that record the event of Jesus’ triumphant entry into the Jewish capital of Jerusalem. Jesus led the processional into Jerusalem, which was packed with Jews from all over the country, gathered to celebrate Passover. As Jesus advanced into the city, he was encompassed by masses of his countrymen who were waving palm branches, laying their coats down on the highway and singing the prophecy from Zechariah 9:9, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

The thunderous acclamation floated down from the Mount of Olives descent into the busy temple area, attracting a larger and larger crowd, until the Pharisees exclaimed, “The whole world is going after him!”

But amidst the tumult and wild acclimation, Jesus is found weeping as he looks out into the crowds and examines the hearts of those waving palm fronds and shouting. His statement reveals he knew the fickle tendencies of the human heart: “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes … because you did not know the time of your visitation.”    

The Son of God offered Himself to His people to be their king, but in spite of all the noise and parade, the people desired a king that was very different from what Jesus came to offer. He did indeed offer true peace in heaven, but these matters of faith weren’t understood by the shallow onlookers who desired a king they could shape and fashion to work for their own desires.

When Jesus didn’t meet that image the following week, the same crowd assembled to renounce their acceptance of Him and demand His execution. John 19:14-16 records the finality of their decision, as Pontius Pilate presents Jesus to the people: “And he said to the Jews, ‘Behold your King!’ But they cried out, ‘Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!’”

Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!” Then he delivered Jesus to them to be crucified.”        

Even though these events took place 2,000 years ago, the decision of what we do with Jesus remains the same. Each individual is responsible to weigh the evidence and make a decision.

Do I want Jesus as my King, or can I fashion something that works better for me?

Don’t be a fickle follower; a follower who “tries Jesus on” for a week or so, discarding Him when your own wishes and desires aren’t fulfilled. Jesus alone is the One who fits on the throne of our heart. His death and resurrection have made for peace in heaven for all who would make Him their King and Savior.

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