by Kevin Pauley
Now He came near the path down the Mount of Olives, and the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles they had seen: Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heaven! Some of the Pharisees from the crowd told Him, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples." He answered, "I tell you, if they were to keep silent, the stones would cry out!" As He approached and saw the city, He wept over it, saying, "If you knew this day what would bring peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes. - Luke 19:37-42 HCSB
How lightly a parade begins! How frivolous the human heart that will cry out the greatest, most sublime truths and not mean a word of it. How typically human to call out “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” one week and “Crucify Him!” the next.
In this at least, the Pharisees were honest. “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples,” they said to Him.
Behind His back their principle concern was evidently darker. The Pharisees said to one another, "You see? You've accomplished nothing. Look--the world has gone after Him!"
Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people were looking for a way to destroy Him, but they could not find a way to do it, because all the people were captivated by what they heard.
We often call this event the “Triumphant Entry.” However, Jesus did not fall for the oldest trap in the book – pride. He would not entrust Himself to these people since He knew them all and because He did not need anyone to testify about man; for He Himself knew what was in man.
He did not consider the ticker tape parade to be His triumph. He looked at all the crowds calling out His name; at the waving palms and the exclamations of praise; He looked at all this and His response was to weep. He knew that they did not understand what they were doing. They didn’t understand the nature of their hearts on this day and they still didn’t a week later at the cross.
Do not pursue human acclamations. There is nothing more fickle than a crowd. As Paul discovered, the very mob that will call you a god, will shortly want to stone you. Instead single-mindedly pursue the commendation of our Master and His alone. To hear “Well done, good and faithful slave” should be the height of our ambition.
Our truest triumphs will not come in the form of a parade but a cross. It is not in worldly acclaim but in sacrificial love that victory lies. The parade earned nothing but notoriety. The cross earned the salvation of the world. Power with God resides in understanding this critical spiritual principle.
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Kevin Pauley is a pastor and writer. He lives in Illinois with his wife, Lynn, their five children and two dogs. His internet address is Berea.
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