Holy Week: Are You A Fair Weathered Worshipper
28-31After saying these things, Jesus headed straight up to Jerusalem. When he got near Bethphage and Bethany at the mountain called Olives, he sent off two of the disciples with instructions: “Go to the village across from you. As soon as you enter, you’ll find a colt tethered, one that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says anything, asks, ‘What are you doing?’ say, ‘His Master needs him.'”
32-33The two left and found it just as he said. As they were untying the colt, its owners said, “What are you doing untying the colt?”
34They said, “His Master needs him.”
35-36They brought the colt to Jesus. Then, throwing their coats on its back, they helped Jesus get on. As he rode, the people gave him a grand welcome, throwing their coats on the street.
37-38Right at the crest, where Mount Olives begins its descent, the whole crowd of disciples burst into enthusiastic praise over all the mighty works they had witnessed:
Blessed is he who comes,
the king in God’s name!
All’s well in heaven!
Glory in the high places!
39Some Pharisees from the crowd told him, “Teacher, get your disciples under control!”
40But he said, “If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise.”
I was reading a devotional by Pastor Greg Laurie on the topic of Palm Sunday last week. While reading something struck me that I had not realized. Pastor Laurie mentioned that some of the folks who were singing the praises of Jesus, would later in the week be demanding his crucifixion. The thought I have for you today is: “Are you a fair weather worshipper or are you in it for the long haul?” There are many of us today who seem to worship and follow Jesus when things are good, and life seems to be going their way. When tough times come, they abandon their faith in their Lord and Savior.
Some of the folks in Jerusalem were the same way. They praised Jesus on Palm Sunday, and they wanted him punished on Good Friday. The crowd loved him in the good times, and lashed out when things got tough. They adored him at the parade, but abandoned him in his pain. When we follow Christ, we decide to follow him regardless of the circumstances in our lives. We follow and love him like one married person loves another. We love him in sickness, health, good times and bad, in poverty and in prosperity. We cannot decide to only follow when it is at our convenience.
In the gospel of John, chapter 6, Jesus feeds the five thousand plus who are hungry. Naturally the people are pleased at the thought of a free lunch. The people follow Jesus because of what he can do for them. Jesus goes to the heart of the matter and tells them not to go after natural food or the free lunch, but rather go after him. He says if they eat of his body then they will have food that does not perish, but give eternal life. Many disciples decide to stop following him because this teaching. He then turns to his disciples and asks:
Too Tough to Swallow
60Many among his disciples heard this and said, “This is tough teaching, too tough to swallow.”
61-65Jesus sensed that his disciples were having a hard time with this and said, “Does this throw you completely? What would happen if you saw the Son of Man ascending to where he came from? The Spirit can make life. Sheer muscle and willpower don’t make anything happen. Every word I’ve spoken to you is a Spirit-word, and so it is life-making. But some of you are resisting, refusing to have any part in this.” (Jesus knew from the start that some weren’t going to risk themselves with him. He knew also who would betray him.) He went on to say, “This is why I told you earlier that no one is capable of coming to me on his own. You get to me only as a gift from the Father.”
66-67After this a lot of his disciples left. They no longer wanted to be associated with him. Then Jesus gave the Twelve their chance: “Do you also want to leave?”
68-69Peter replied, “Master, to whom would we go? You have the words of real life, eternal life. We’ve already committed ourselves, confident that you are the Holy One of God.”
Are we like Peter, we will follow no matter what because Jesus is the Holy One of God, or do we only follow when he blesses us and gives us a free lunch. The song in the attached video says it all. “I have decided to follow Jesus (3x), No turning back, no turning back. The cross before me, the world behind me (3x), no turning back, no turning back. Though none go with me, still I will follow (3x), no turning back, no turning back.”
In conclusion, let us not be fair weather worshippers who only praise God in the parade of the Palm Sundays in our lives, but let us follow and praise him also in the crucifying Calvarys that we have to endure.
Until next time,
worship him in the good and in the bad
pastor greg t