Mark 11:7 Then (Jesus’ disciples) brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. 9 Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
This is it, the moment Jesus’ disciples have been waiting for – particularly the twelve who would become apostles! All along they’d harbored hopes and dreams that a new governing order would take root in Israel with Jesus as the new king, and they as his key governors. So close! Bring it on!
But it was not to be.
If you’ve read this story before, you know that Jesus goes from “hero” to “zero” in an astonishingly short time. These same people shouting “Hosanna!” will soon be shouting, “Crufify him!”. I’ve been among people who struggle to understand how this could be. What happened?! (As if this is such a rare thing).
Truth of the matter is, the crowds were/are fickle.
It’s hard to believe, but the U.S. is beginning another LOOOOONG presidential election cycle. Someone will be elected president in November, 2016 and will be hailed as the second coming. There will be galas and balls (none of which I’ll be invited to as I’m not a rich political donor or operative). This person will be on the front page of newspapers, magazines, websites shortly after their election. Their approval ratings will be sky high!
But our new president will be met with unrealistic expectations, systemic resistance to change, and approval ratings will plummet as high hopes encounter these inevitable realities. And the cycle will repeat itself.
As I sit in my home office this morning pondering these words at the beginning of Holy Week (Palm Sunday today, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday), I’m compelled to check my own heart. My own motives. My own expectations and perhaps even disappointments in the Lord.
It’s not just the crowds who are fickle. I AM FICKLE.
That’s not an easy thing for me to admit, but it’s true. Some days I’m completely on-board with what I perceive God to be doing… but other days I’m apathetic, if not outright resistant. I want to embrace the will and ways of God, but I don’t want the cross (sacrifice) that goes with it. So, instead of following through with the appropriate and difficult path, I’ll look for something or someone else to follow.
The way of Jesus is hard. In my own will and strength, I am just like the crowds who will soon cry “Cruficy him!”. I want to be different, but my humanity gets in the way. It’s why I (and you) desperately need a savior to do in me what I cannot do in myself.
Lord Jesus, again I pray this morning for all of us fickle crowds of fair-weather followers “Kyrie Eleison!” (Lord, have mercy!)