The Road of Worship: Part IV

On the next day a great multitude had come to the feast. When they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they took the branches of the palm trees, and went out to meet him, and cried out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel!”

Jesus, having found a young donkey, sat on it. As it is written, “Don’t be afraid, daughter of Zion. Behold, your King comes, sitting on a donkey’s colt.” His disciples didn’t understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about him, and that they had done these things to him. The multitude therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb, and raised him from the dead, was testifying about it. For this cause also the multitude went and met him, because they heard that he had done this sign. The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, “See how you accomplish nothing. Behold, the [whole] world has gone after him.”              John 12:12-19 (WEB, my emphasis, my addition)

The crowd had come for Passover. Arguably the feast in the Judaic traditions. God brought His people out of their bondage and into the land that He promised. Jesus enters Jerusalem, the Lamb who is the one who will set God’s people free for all time and bring them to the place He has prepared for them. And yet John says that the disciples did not understand until after the Resurrection. Jesus revealed the Scriptures (remember Emmaus?) including this one here from Zechariah 9:9, I suspect. But at that moment they were remembering the miracle of Lazarus restoration and praise could not be stopped from their lips.

Can you hear the frustration in the words of the Pharisees? When true worship from the heart occurs and people live their lives in the fruit of their commitment to God, religious people get beyond angry.

But they [the Sanhedrin, the leaders], when they heard this, were cut to the heart, and determined to kill them. But one stood up in the council, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, honored by all the people, and commanded to put the apostles out for a little while. He said to them, “You men of Israel, be careful concerning these men, what you are about to do. For before these days Theudas rose up, making himself out to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were dispersed, and came to nothing. After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the enrollment, and drew away some people after him. He also perished, and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered abroad. Now I tell you, withdraw from these men, and leave them alone. For if this counsel or this work is of men, it will be overthrown. But if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow it, and you would be found even to be fighting against God!”             Acts 5:33-39 (WEB, my addition)

Oh, if we could all learn from history! Gamaliel spoke a profound truth from which we could all learn. A group gets “fired up” to serve God, worship God, spend time in study of God’s Word and those who have been in the church get angry because “their way” has been disrupted. Gamaliel counsels that above all else, we do not want to fight God.

Jesus is real and when I get that and come into a relationship with Him in a real and tangible way that produces fruit then my life changes and the way I live my life changes. I have a new normal. I am different. I may be seen as passionate or as a “Jesus fanatic” and that is not always received well. But Peter and John told the Sanhedrin that when given a choice – they would choose God first every time (Acts 4:19-20).

This Sunday, Palm Sunday, I will be worshiping my LORD. No rocks will be out-singing me! And I will still be worshiping Him on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and…

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