Recently, I have been meditating on Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem found in Matthew 21. The part I have been thinking about is the crowd. How easy it is jump on ship with God and His plan when times are easy or look good! The crowd, in the excitement of the moment, worshipped and praised Jesus as he entered Jerusalem on a small donkey, fulfilling prophecy. Yet that same crowd would turn on Jesus not that long later and tell Pilate to free Barabbas and crucify Jesus. What happened from chapter 21 to chapter 27? The crowd seemed to be missing the big picture of God’s plan, as they were trying to force Him to fit their own plan.
Most of that crowd praised Jesus because of what He could potentially do for them: free them from Rome, heal their sick, or put the corrupt Pharisees in their place. Most of them were not praising Jesus for who He was or for His power to connect them to God the Father. If they had truly understood why Jesus deserved their praise, they most likely would not have turned on Jesus when He didn’t fulfill their personal expectations.
Christmas time feels a lot like that triumphal entry to me. So many people talk about baby Jesus during the Christmas season, and they seem to praise Him for His earthly life and ministry. Yet that same crowd spends most of the year expecting God to meet their needs rather than surrendering their lives over to whatever He has planned for them.
Today, the day before Christmas Eve, my mom and I headed to the mall. The crowd was so crazy! There were people everywhere, swarming in and out of every store, restaurant, and booths. As I was watching the crowd, it made me feel part of that crowd in Jerusalem. The Christmas season is not just about what God can give or has given us, but I would love to see it become a season of rededicating (or re-gifting) our lives to give back over to His control.
I am so thankful for God’s direction and strength that He provides! Jesus’ plan while riding that donkey was so much bigger than to rescue the crowd from their earthly problems. His heart was to obey and follow God out of love for us as sinners. He offers us the best gift as our Savior: eternal life. We in return should offer Him all we have: our earthly lives.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.