July 4

Text: Matthew 21:8

And most of the multitude spread their garments in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees, and spreading them in the road. (NASB)

As you consider this event, place your focus on the expectation of the welcoming people.  Place your focus on the crowd which Matthew called a “multitude.”  The issue today is not on what Jesus thought of himself, or what the 12 thought of Jesus’ actions, but on this crowd’s opinion of Jesus.  

Earlier Jesus was moved because the multitudes illustrated how leaderless the people were (Matthew 9:36).  The gospel of John says that a multitude was impressed with Jesus’ miracles (John 6:2, 14), and those people were considering taking Jesus by force and demanding he be king (John 6:15).  The why of such action is a no-brainer—a king who could heal the sick would be an incredible Medicare program, and a king who could multiply food from tiny to much could provide them with incredible aid!

Israel had not had a king who was centered on the needs of the Israelite people for a long time.  Unfortunately, leadership tends to live in a self-perpetuating world of its own.  Leadership tends to assume if its needs are met that the led are satisfied.  The unwillingness of leadership to maintain contact with the led produces a situation ripe for disaster.

Jesus was in compassionate touch with the needs of the people.  He was a leader who cared.  His unselfish concern did not go unnoticed.

Seemingly, ancient Israel professed loyalty and devotion to a new king by paving his way with their garments (2 Kings 9:13).  Most of the multitude paved Jesus’ arrival-entrance into Jerusalem with their clothing.  Their action seemed to be the actions of Israelites welcoming a new king.

Have you considered what an expensive way this was to declare welcome and show devotion?  Have you considered what a risky action this was?  Wonder what these people expected Jesus to do?  When an emotional welcome became a failed expectation, did the emotional welcomer become a part of an emotional mob who screamed for crucifixion?

Suggestion for reflection: How do you show devotion to Jesus?  What are your expectations?  (Read Acts 5:40-42.)

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 Copyright 2011 David Chadwell