They waved palm branches in His honor. They shouted, "Hosanna!" They saw His face. They were in the presence of the Savior. Yet, five days later, they were among the many who went with the crowd and yelled, "Kill Him! Crucify Him!"
The people of Jerusalem had Jesus in front of them. They knew he was fulfilling the Scripture.
"Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey riding on a donkey’s colt." -Zechariah 9:9
They acknowledged He was the Son of God.
"Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting, 'Praise God for the Son of David! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Praise God in highest heaven!' The entire city of Jerusalem was in an uproar as he entered. 'Who is this?' they asked. And the crowds replied, 'It’s Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.'" -Matthew 21:9-11
Yet in the space of 5 days, something happened. The crowd who worshiped and cheered Jesus joined in the cries of "crucify Him."
Maybe they felt fear. Maybe they were scared to acknowledge they believed in Jesus - like Peter was - because it meant being killed, imprisioned, alienated by family and friends, being unpopular.
Yet, as much as I want to say, "Shame on them!" I also need to look at myself and say, "Shame on me!" I know Jesus. I have the Holy Spirit living and breathing inside of me, yet I know there have been times when I haven't been as forthcoming that I know Jesus and am one of His followers. I know there are times when I worship Him on Sunday and am guilty of not living like I belong to Jesus the other six days. I know there have been times when I've chosen to go with the crowd. I know you have too. We all have. I pray the next time I - and you - are faced with the decision to go with the crowd that God would remind me and you of this:
I know that I can go against the crowd because God empowers me.
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. -Philippians 4:13
I know I can go against the crowd because God's spirit lives within me and it's a whole lot stronger than anything else out there.
But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. -1 John 4:4
I know I can go against the crowd because God started working in me and He won't let up.
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. -Philippians 1:6
I know I can go against the crowd because God's promised to never leave me out there hanging.
For God has said, "I will never fail you. I will never abandon you." So we can say with confidence, "The LORD is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?" -Hebrews 13:5b-6
Thank God for His mercy and grace. It's because of Him that we can dare to go against the crowd.