About a week before he was crucified, Jesus had his very own parade. He was welcomed into Jerusalem by a large crowd of people lining the streets, waving palm branches and screaming "Hosanna!" Yet seven days later when he was sentenced to be crucified, there was another crowd present, likely filled with many of the same people, and instead of yelling "Hosanna!" they were yelling "Crucify him!" What the heck happened during that week?
Jesus Christ: Roman Killer?
Before each Word design, I do extensive preparation that involves minutes of research about the passage that I'm focusing on. Based on that research, here's my take on what happened during that week....
The Jewish people at that time were under a pretty oppressive Roman government. The Romans were sorta like the Philistines of the New Testament. They were mean, ugly and they never brushed their teeth. In the Old Testament, Jews like Samson and David would use their superpowers to kick some Philistine butt. For the past 3 years, Jesus had done superpower things like heal people, drive out demons, control the weather, and walk on water. He probably seemed like a good candidate to kick some Roman butt, right? I think that was the mindset of the "Hosanna!" crowd. They are waiting for this dude to bring the hammer down on the Romans.
Jesus didn't major in marketing
If you are in marketing or communications, you would know that after you have a big event (like your very own parade) you'll want to try to build on it and keep that momentum going. For example, maybe spout some hate speech about the Romans or something like that. Apparently, Jesus did not major in marketing. In the very next passage, he instead goes into the Jewish temple and gets pissed at Jewish people. He flips tables over and calls people "thieves." Over the next week he hangs out with the scum of Jewish society and while insulting the rich and religious folks. He never once lays out his plan to overtake the Roman government. The "Hosanna!" crowd quickly comes to a realization:
This dude is not who we wanted him to be.
And suddenly "Hosanna!" turns into "Crucify Him!"
Dear Jesus. Give me what I want. Sincerely, Jim.
One of the things that's so awesome about Jesus is that he is who he is. He won't become something else based on my or anyone else's expectations. But just like those first century Jews, that doesn't stop us from trying, right? We want Jesus to be someone who helps us succeed, get rich and have a nice house. We want Jesus to be on our side of an argument, a political issue or a war.
We want Jesus to do what we want so we simply attach his name to what we want.
It's pretty easy, isn't it? If I'm on this side, all I need to do is label that side heathens, liberals, enemies, etc. and presto, now it's my duty as a Christian to take those suckas out.
Dear Jim. No, but I've got a better idea. Love, Jesus.
But but let's go back to the Jesus portrayed in the Gospels and look at how he handled the heathens, liberals and enemies. He suffered and died not just for his homies, but also for the the people who betrayed and murdered him.
Jesus says, Yes, I do take a side. It's the side of all humanity.
Well played, Jesus. Well played.