The Reading: Matthew 21:1-11
“… the crowds … shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’” (v.9) RSV
Oh, the fickleness of our friends or our admirers. How we long for people who will love us and stick by us. Jesus “knew what was in man” (John 2:25). He was not fooled or swayed by the praises of men and women. Of course he benefitted from the support of his disciples. Remember how in the Garden of Gethsemane he wanted them to watch in prayer with him. How it would have helped and strengthened him. Yet, he was not dependent on them. If all else failed he would find the strength he needed from his Father and from within himself.
So as he rode into Jerusalem he was not buoyed up by the crowd’s joyous praises and affirmations. Instead, as you can read in Luke’s account, he wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44). Far from being puffed up with popularity; he knew how the crowds would turn on him, and how the powers (both secular and religious) in the capital would try to exterminate his ministry; that is why he wept. But he did not weep for himself and what he would suffer; he wept for those who through their fickleness were now cheering him but who would soon turn and reject the truth, the truth that could have set them free.
How distressing it is when those whom we love and pray for think that they are doing just fine, yet we know that all is not well. They are lost. It makes our heart grieve within us. We plead with God for them, we agonise on their behalf, we try to reason with them and warn, and yet all to no avail. Part of the agony of Holy Week or the ‘Via Dolorosa’ for Jesus was the pain and consequences that others would suffer through their rejection of him.
We are in good company when we feel this way. We have a high priest (Jesus – see Hebrews 4:14) who knows exactly why we weep. He intercedes with us and will strengthen us to carry on praying and loving those who as yet continue to reject.
Lord, keep me from cheering you one day and rejecting you the next. May I be faithful and true. May I support you and your cause through thick and thin. Amen.
1 Ponder again Jesus’ knowledge of people.
2 See how quickly people can turn on you.
John 6:66 & Matthew 27:22-23