Bible Ballistics: Vol. 9 No.15 Rejoicing Or Rejecting!!!
As many celebrate “Palm Sunday”, the day that Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the First Day of the week into Jerusalem; the week that would bring His last days of ministry, His trials, His death, burial, and His triumphant resurrection one week later. And in all of this, we must understand that Jesus knew what was before Him! He had tried to prepare the disciples for what was coming; yet they had no way to understand what God was about to do! Yet we have the advantage of knowing, as Paul Harvey would say, the “rest of the story”! Jesus rose victorious over sin, death and hell, and because of His atoning sacrifice we can have eternal life through the ‘blood of The Lamb’!
So let’s jump in and see what we can learn from this event in the life of our Lord.
“ And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. 10 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? 11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.” Matthew 21:8-11
As Jesus came into the city, the crowds gathered—crowds that were in Jerusalem for the Passover; crowds that were curious about this itinerate Rabbi from Nazareth; crowds that were eager to see miracles; crowds that were looking for something. Yet many in those crowds only observers looking for a thrill rather than truth (ring any bells?). Why do I say that, you might ask? Well, I can say that because only a few days later their cry was quickly turned from shouts of “Hosanna” to “Crucify Him”! What happened? Nothing that doesn’t still happen every day—people motivated by a mob mentality rather than truth. In fact even as Jesus entered into Jerusalem, amidst the crowds praising God, there were those who were rejecting Him even then.
“And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; 38 Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.
39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.
40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. 41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.” Luke 19:37-42
The leaders were “offended” by the people’s praise of this traveling Rabbi from Nazareth! They chose to reject who He was, what He did among the people, or any consideration of what HE came to do. They saw the “Messiah” of The Lord God Almighty, and failed to recognize Him. And because they rejected ‘who’ He was, they missed redemption, salvation and new life in Jesus! What about you?
“And he said unto them,
Ye are from beneath;
I am from above:
ye are of this world;
I am not of this world.
24 I said therefore unto you,
that ye shall die in your sins:
for if ye believe not that I am he,
ye shall die in your sins.
25 Then said they unto him, Who art thou?
And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.
26 I have many things to say and to judge of you:
but he that sent me is true;
and I speak to the world
those things which I have heard of him.
27 They understood not
that he spake to them of the Father.” John 8:23-27
Jesus declared, “ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” Jesus is the Only Way—He said it clearly here and in John 14:6, “I AM The Way, The Truth and The Life”, and He also said plainly that “no man comes unto the Father but by me….”! In John 8, Jesus says clearly and simply that unless we believe that HE IS God—the God man, savior, redeemer, sent from the Father—we will die “IN” our sins. Jesus came to die “for” our sins, so that we wouldn’t have to die “in” our sins. Because the wages “of sin” is death! Only Jesus gives eternal life, redemption and the new birth of salvation—then and now! (See Romans 3:23 & 6:23)
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;” 2 Corinthians 5:17-18
When we receive salvation through the blood of Jesus, we are made “a new creature” in Him. And receiving HIM gives us cause to rejoice. Or you can reject Him and pay the eternal consequences of your own sin. Like the crowd who cheered for Jesus on Sunday, yet had a 180-degree change in just four days.
“And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews? 13 And they cried out again, Crucify him. 14 Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him.” Mark 15:12-14
“But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. 21 The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. 22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.” Matthew 27:20-22
“Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them. 21 But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him.” Luke 23:20-21
“And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! 15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. 16 Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.” John 19:14-16
The choice before the people on both occasions was “what would they do with Jesus”! And we face the same question today, “What will YOU do with Jesus?” Will you be with the crowd on Palm Sunday, and shout His praises with truth and devotion? Or will you be one of those who were praising Him one day and only a few days later, instead of shouting our “Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest”, they were shouting “Away with him, away with him, crucify him……. We have no king but Caesar”! No king but Caesar? Really? What happened to the “son of David”—King Jesus? What happened then is the same thing that happens now, much like the parable of the sower and the seed, there are those who reject Him right off the cuff, there are those who shout His praises, but have no real recognition of His deity or His saving power because they have no relationship of salvation with the Master!
“Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. 19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. 20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. 22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. 23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” Matthew 13:18-23
Without getting into the depths of this parable, for our purposes, I just want us to understand and see that there are always those who follow whatever others are doing—they follow almost mindlessly, they have no real relationship with Jesus at all. There are also those who jump on the bandwagon with seemingly great zeal, but they have no real root (they aren’t genuine!) and so they loose heart and interest when difficulty comes, or something newer comes along. There are also those who may or may not be genuine, but are drawn away by the lure of the world, and become unfruitful. And lastly Jesus describes those who come to Him in genuine repentance and faith—Jesus describes them as those who “heareth the word, …understandeth …. beareth fruit…and bringeth forth”!
It is so important that we don’t miss what Jesus said about those who “bear fruit”—Jesus said that they bear “some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty”! Not everyone has the same gifts, or the same opportunities, or the same places of service; but every believer is capable and responsible to allow The Lord to produce His fruit as we follow HIm and yield our lives to Him and devote ourselves to His work.
The question isn’t can we bear fruit, but will we bear fruit. Are we attached to the “vine”, Jesus? Are we following Him and His ways? Are we rejoicing IN HIM, His Word and His ways, or are we rejecting Him in subtle ways. Are we joining the crowd when they are praising, and just as willingly joining in when they scream, “crucify HIM”?
Will we choose to be faithful believers and followers of Jesus, and rejoice in all His ways? Will we follow Him in the difficult times as well as the good times? Will you rejoice or reject? Will you follow Him to the cross and trust Him for salvation, or will you be one of those who mocked Him at the cross, even as He was paying for the sin of the world?
“And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. 41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, 42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.” Matthew 27:40-42
“And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, 30 Save thyself, and come down from the cross. 31 Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. 32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.” Mark 15:29-32
I find it interesting that they remembered His words, but they refused to believe! They knew that He claimed to be God, which made Him the “King of the Jews”, but they refused to believe Him. They saw with eyes that didn’t perceive truth, they heard the words with their ears but not their hearts. They were in the very presence of the Son of God, yet they chose not to believe; yet Jesus had already told them that without believing in Him as the very Son of God, they would “die in your sins”!!! They chose!
How about you? Have you trusted Him for your salvation? Are you praising Him for His grace and mercy? Or are you simply ‘going along to get along’? Will you stand fast for Jesus or will you reject the One who loved you enough to stay on that cross and not come down? And He could have come down! But for love of you and me—He died and rose victorious over sin, death and hell! Rejoicing or Rejecting? Choose wisely, there is a test at the end!