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by Phil Ware
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven! (Matthew 21:6-9 NRSV)
One week the crowds called him their hero. They welcomed him as Davids Son. They spread their coats and palm branches in his path and cheered him as their Messiah. Such joy! Such jubilation! Such anticipation of glory.
A mere week later, they asked for a murderer to be released and for him to be crucified. They yelled, Crucify him! in anger and hatred. They rejected him and wanted him dead.
How fast the crowd turns. How fickle are those who once consider themselves to be friends can be. But then, they were just the crowds! Easily swayed. Not at all loyal. Not really friends. Surely real friends would be faithful.
What can we learn from this night of horror, betrayal, and failure? Is there a message for us in all of this?
Yes, I believe there are two crucial messages for you and me.
First, Jesus knows the heartbreak of friends who fail us and break our hearts through their betrayal. He doesnt just know this pain as a theory or as an intellectual understanding or because he is the all-knowing God; he knows through the intense pain of personal experience. Because he knows, we can turn to him and know he hears our cries of anguish, identifies with our gut-wrenching pain, and will stand by us even though all others fail! (Hebrews 2:14-18; 4:14-16; 2 Timothy 2:11-13)
Second, Jesus can take us and redeem us and restore us even when we have failed him in the worst of ways. This same group of apostles that failed him so miserably would become the greatest group of world-changers in human history. He not only forgave them, he empowered them. He used their experience as a crucible to forge them into something better than they were. He can do the same with you and me.
So never doubt the fickleness of friends; but never give up on them! Never be surprised at the difference a week can make in the support of the crowd; but dont be disillusioned by it. Most of all, never doubt that the Lord knows your deepest hurts and can mend your worst failures.
This is a true saying:
Author: Phil Ware
Publication Date: April 14, 2003
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