Which Crowd Are You In?

The polls are up. The polls are down.

The political candidate is everyone's darling until he isn't.

And it's anyone's guess when the winds will change.

The celebrity is the hottest thing going one day and the next, he can't get a movie part anywhere.

We each like to think of ourselves as beyond that kind of fickleness, but are we? Who are those people answering the polls? Maybe you are more gullible than you think.

Have you ever wondered which crowd you would have been in
the day Jesus was put on trial?

Before you take a side, be honest with yourself. Everyone from Oprah to the President likes to speak in respectful tones about the great prophet Jesus and how wise he was. What a good teacher, an excellent role model. It's hard to find anyone who will openly state they hate Jesus and everything he stood for.

Then who were those people crying out for his murder?

Were they kooks carted in from the asylum? Were they aliens from Mars?

Of course not. They were the same people who had waved palm branches a few days before. Now they waved sticks and swords. They hadn't heard about all that role model stuff. This guy said he was God and he had to be stopped.

The reality is that we see with 20/20 hindsight. We understand now how the story ended and we want to be sure we're on the right side. But what about then?

If you had walked those same dusty streets, heard his confusing sermons, puzzled over a parable or two, and then heard the leaders you respected calling the Nazarene a troublemaker, what would you have done? Those guys were smarter than you; they knew the Scriptures. If they said he was crazy, then would that be good enough for you?

There were four options that day.
The options haven't changed.

  • First, there were the ones who'd been whipped into a frenzy and were actively calling for his death. They were angry. Felt betrayed by the whole King of the Jews thing. He'd made fools of them and they'd gone along with it, but no more. No sir. They'd put things to rights and he'd never make claims like that again. No one was God unless they decided he was God. And God would do things their way. Whoever shouted the loudest had to be right.
  • Then there were the disinterested masses. Most people couldn't care less. Another criminal being crucified. Ho-hum, so what? Not worth missing the Jerusalem vs. Bethlehem stickball tournament. Maybe he was who he said he was. Maybe not. Couldn't work up a care either way. The free food was nice, but it was probably a trick. There will be another "Messiah" come along any day. Unless he was handing out freebies, they wouldn't bother.
  • The ones we shy away from identifying with are the disciples. When things got scary, they all fled. The very ones who had just finished an argument about who was the greatest in God's kingdom didn't wait around to see it come. Religion was fine when it was popular, but when everything turned upside down, they took off.
  • The last group is the one we all like to imagine we would have been a part of, but would we? The stragglers who followed the cross and the bloodied ex-hero up the hill were under no illusions. Their world had come crashing down. They'd put faith in this man and his claims. They still loved him, even if he turned out to be a nut. With every step, their dreams died a little more. There would be no turning this around. Maybe they'd misunderstood, but they loved him anyway. They would rather follow a bloody defeated Jesus than have no Jesus at all. However this turned out, they were there for him and wanted him to know it.

So put yourself in AD 33 . Slip on some sandals, a robe, and an attitude. Where would you have been?

Whichever crowd you would have been a part of then,
you are still a part of.

Your answer makes all the difference in the world: Which crowd are you in?


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