A Fickle Praise

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

 

“Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”

 

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.

 

And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, “This is the prophet, Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”  Matthew 21:1-11



People sometimes have fluctuating loyalties. Think of a sports enthusiast. Similar to these fans, believers can be fickle. Today, we’ll look at fickleness in Jesus’ final week in Matthew 21. We find Him dealing with life, death, burial, and resurrection. 

 

Let’s focus first on Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem for the final time during His earthly ministry. The Bible tells us that Jesus stirred all the citizens of Jerusalem. There was excitement and enthusiasm in the air:

 

“And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” Mark 11:9-10

 

Five days later, the same crowd that welcomed him shouting, “Hosanna” was the same fickle crowd that screamed, “Crucify!” 

 

Let’s dig into the text to determine how this fickle praise occurred. 

 

WE BECOME FICKLE BY RELISHING THE DEEDS OF CHRIST WITHOUT REVERENCE FOR THE DEITY OF CHRIST

When we get excited about what Jesus did—the miracles and the healings—more than we do about who Jesus is, we have fickle praise. Jesus did not perform miracles just to perform miracles. The deeds of Christ always point to the deity of Christ.

 

What do we mean by the deity of Christ? That means He’s much more than a miracle worker, prophet, or teacher. It means He’s God in the flesh—the God in the Godhead. So Jesus performed those deeds to point to this deity.

 

The Sovereignty of Christ 

The first few verses of Matthew 21 help us see the deity of Jesus by His omnipotence.

 

“Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” 

Matthew 21:1-3

 

The Authority of Christ

Jesus displays His authority as He calmly rides into Jerusalem on a donkey that hasn’t been broken or saddled yet. Jesus has authority over the unruly, untamed, and uncontrolled. Jesus can control the uncontrollable.

 

The Majesty of Christ

Jesus also displays His deity by showing His majesty and royalty. Remember His parade into Jerusalem on the donkey? It was customary for a victorious king returning from battle to be welcomed by palm branches. The branches were a symbol of victory. The people would also remove their clothes and lay them on the ground to show respect for the king’s royalty and majesty.

 

“Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.” Matthew 21:8 

WE BECOME FICKLE WHEN WE SHOW RHETORICAL DEFERENCE FOR CHRIST WITHOUT RELATIONAL DEVOTION TO CHRIST

You may have the rhetorical down but not the relational in place. You know all the spiritual slogans and praise platitudes, but the problem is that rhetoric is all you have. This results in fickle praise. 

 

“But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant”  

Matthew 21:15

 

Those who gave accolades and “Hosannas” were not loyal. We can see it in Matthew 15:7-9:

 

“You hypocrites! Well, did Isaiah prophesy of you when he said:

 

‘This people honors me with their lips,

    but their heart is far from me;

in vain do they worship me,

    teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”

 

Your faith is fickle because all you have is rhetoric. You don’t have a relationship with Christ. Worship is not lip service. 

 

The real litmus test of your praise is when you are all by yourself, and all hell is breaking loose. Can you still praise Him? When you don’t know how to make ends meet, when the doctor gives you a bad report, do you have the capacity to praise God beyond the rhetoric?

 

When was the last time you were all by yourself, spending time at the feet of Jesus? Have you spent time building your relationship with Him? 

 

Beware of all those religious rhetoric folks who have not cultivated relational devotion to God.

 

WE BECOME FICKLE WHEN WE EXPERIENCE ROMANTICIZED DELIVERANCE IN CHRIST WITHOUT ACCEPTING DISRUPTION FROM CHRIST

The people call out to Jesus, “Son of David,” not “Son of God.” They want a warrior. They want to be saved. Only folks under oppression need saving. Like many of us, they romanticize Christ, seeing Him as a deliverer. 

 

Often, disruption precedes peace. Jesus didn’t come only to deliver; His deliverance is not what we think it is. He may, in fact, disrupt us before He delivers us. Jesus could turn your life upside down, and when He does, can you still praise Him? Can you still give God the glory? 

CONCLUSION

You can’t have new order without disorder. The real question is, can you still praise Jesus when you ask for deliverance and you’re given disruption? 

 

Let’s not be fickle in our praise. Let’s not only praise when it’s convenient or when Jesus has done our bidding or fulfills our desires. 

 

Ask God for help to move from fickle praise to faithful praise. Don’t just honor God with your lips but with your whole life. Decide to connect with Christ. Get to know Him; believe He can change your life and make you brand new. Don’t be fickle anymore.

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