Faces In The Crowd

WHICH FACE would I have been?  I’ve thought about this before and determined that, more than likely, I would have been on the wrong side.

                This past Sunday, Pastor Rod spoke on The Triumphal Entry, Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem recorded in Matthew 21:1-11.   His focus, however, was from a different perspective.  He turned our attention to the crowd that had gathered to watch Jesus ride into Jerusalem on the backs of a donkey and her colt over a road covered with cloaks and palm branches.  A crowd comprised of many faces belonging to many people who were there with different agendas.  Let’s take a look at those in attendance.  Perhaps one of their agendas might resonate – strike a chord – with us.

                First, there were the Roman soldiers.  They were there to keep the peace.  Jerusalem was under Roman occupancy.  With the celebration of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread about to take place, the city was crawling with Jewish people.  When the soldiers heard that Jesus was arriving, they stood prepared to defend their territory from any Jewish military uprising that may occur.

                Second were the Gawkers.  John records in 12:9 “Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.”  The Gawkers had heard of the miraculous sign and came out to meet this man who had brought life back to Lazarus.

                Next were the Takers.  These were the people who wanted something for themselves.  In John 6:30, they asked Jesus to show them a miraculous sign so that they could see it and believe.  They were more interested in what they could get from Jesus rather that what they could give to him.

                Then, there were the Pharisees.  These were the religious leaders of the day.  They were threatened by Jesus and his teachings (John 12:19).  Wherever Jesus was, he became the center of attention.  His teachings drew more and more followers daily.  This shift in religious allegiance gave the Pharisees concern for a potential uprising from within.  A possible usurping of religious authority.  So they brought turmoil among their own people.

                Finally, there were the Seekers.  These were the Greeks who wanted to see Jesus.  These were people who were not Jewish, but were attracted to Judaism and worshiped in synagogues.  Jesus’ teachings were different.  They wanted to see the one who spoke of “drawing all men” to himself (John 12:32).

                When Pastor Rod finished his lesson, my minds eye scanned the faces in the crowd.  Who would I have been?  What agenda would I have had?  I can’t say for sure, but more than likely I would have been a Pharisee.  I wouldn’t have trusted Jesus or believed he was the Son of God.   I would have felt threatened by his presence.

                Today, however, I would hope to be considered a Seeker.  One who looks for God and serves Him from the fullness of my heart.  One who seeks to make life a brighter place for those around me.  One who walks in His way and is prepared to fulfill the life He has called me to.

                What about you?  Which face would represent you?

                As Easter approaches, turn your eyes upon Jesus.  Gaze upon the One who captivated the crowds and loved each face within despite their agenda.  Including yours.  Have a blessed Easter.

When He had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.”  With that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.  (John 19:30, NIV)

 Prayer:  Father in heaven, I am so thankful You looked upon my face and gave me a second chance.  A chance to come to know You and to love You.  A chance to worship the One who died for my sins.  A chance to kneel at the cross and beg for mercy and grace.  A chance to receive forgiveness.  A chance to live my life wholly  unto You.  A chance to live eternally in Your presence.  In Your precious son Jesus’ name, Amen.

Message used with permission by Pastor Rod Nielson, Agape Christian Church, LaPorte,Indiana.

Photo courtesy of Morguefile and Kathaer.