Wednesday, July 30, 2014
All eyes are on Jesus, Part II
Last time we saw some of the faces in the crowd that seemed confused. Today we will see others who are pretending, and some who are simply curious.
The pretenders in the crowd are those who had seen His signs and miracles, but were still not willing to make a commitment to Jesus.
Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not
believe in him. (John 12:37)
Pretenders want to be seen around Jesus, but they won't surrender control of their lives. Many people today are in this group -- they come to church and other gatherings out of habit, or because it is a familiar routine. Some people just come to church to ease their conscience, but they are all the same: pretenders are just going through the motions.
They may have been shouting "Hosanna!" and wafting their palm branches just like the others, but they were spiritually blind. They knew very little about Jesus or His plan for their lives . . . they were probably very easily influenced by the actions of others. Someone they knew wanted to see Jesus, and they were caught up in the excitement.
Pretenders will take the path of least resistance -- and they let the approval of others determine their level of commitment. Real surrender? Commitment to Jesus? Nope.
Another group of people in the crowd are simply curious. John tells us:
A crowd had come to meet Jesus because they had seen Him call Lazarus out
of the tomb. They kept talking about Him and this miracle. (John 12:17-18 CEV)
These are the same faces in the crowd that would be attracted to the next circus, or would be intrigued by the next magic show that hits town. Their minds are occupied with the wonder and amazement that they feel about "what He might do next." They've heard interesting things about this man from Nazareth, and they want to see Him for themselves. They are looking for the next amazing experience or the next paranormal event. They aren't necessarily looking for His truth, but are just doing what seems right for the moment.
Ahh, but here is where the ominous music begins to play.
The opposition shows up.
When Jesus was starting down the Mount of Olives, his large crowd of disciples
were happy and praised God because of all the miracles they had seen. They
shouted, "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in
heaven and glory to God!" Some Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher,
make your disciples stop shouting!" (Luke 19:37-39 CEV)
Isn't that just like the Pharisees? Such party poopers. And wherever the power was, that was where you’d find these Pharisees. Wherever the prestige was, you could be sure they would be there. They wanted the praise. They wanted the glory. They wanted to be looked up to and they wanted to be the ones who had all the influence. They were fine as long as they were the center of attention, but look out if someone else received the praise. Look at this one, too:
"…The Pharisees had already given orders for the people not to have anything
to do with anyone who had faith in Jesus. And besides, the leaders liked praise
from others more than they liked praise from God. John 12:42b-43 (CEV)
The opposition, (the religious establishment) was seeking to promote it’s own interests. We've looked before at how the Pharisees felt about Jesus, and how He threatened their positions of power. They didn't like the way He was rocking the boat!
Those in opposition to Jesus are consumed with seeking the attention of people. They oppose a commitment to Christ, because commitment requires change. Commitment requires the focus to be on Jesus and not ourselves.
Jesus' opponents were seeking to destroy the message He was bringing.
The question now is this: are we one of these that we have studied? The confused, the pretenders, the curious, or even the opposition? Or are we like those we will study tomorrow?
Join us tomorrow to see!