Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Praise God in highest heaven!”Matthew 21:9 (NLT)
We call Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem during the final days of His life the “Triumphal Entry.” This simply means that Jesus entered into Jerusalem with fanfare, with praises, with worship of who He was/is, and why He had come to earth. He rode into town as a beloved King. People around Him were shouting His praises. They waved palm branches in celebration.
Only a short time later, the scene was vastly different. The crowds had left, Jesus was not welcomed as a king, but mocked as the King of the Jews as He hung from the cross. The shouts of praise were traded for shouts of insult. The palm branches were replaced with a sponge on a stick. Oh, what a horrible scene it was.
I’ve always had this question: What happened to the crowds that greeted Jesus upon His arrival in Jerusalem? We have no record of anyone other than a few people who made it to the foot of the cross to support Jesus (Mary and John in particular). Where was the crowd of supporters? Where were those who we supposed to be His closest friends?
The simplified answer is they were afraid, so they didn’t show up. They were afraid of what the religious elite would think of them if they continued to worship a man that had been deemed a heretic. They were afraid that if they spoke up, they too would be cruelly treated by the Romans. They were afraid of what others thought of their worship, so they stopped.
Church, this happens far too often in our moments of gathering. We don’t worship our Savior with passion and energy befitting the King. We whisper, lest someone think we are being disrespectful. (Reverence has to do with attitude, not volume.) We sing in hushed tones lest someone judge our pitch. We worship while afraid of what others think.
Let me challenge each of us. (Especially as we approach Easter weekend.) Worship Jesus with the passion and energy, which He is deserving. Don’t worry about what others may think of your sudden joy. Express it! Proclaim His glories! Praise God for sending His Son! Sing with the joy that is begging to be released! Shout for joy at the risen King! Who cares who sees it. This is about Jesus, not others.