Day Thirty-Nine of Lent
April 13, 2019
By MB Discipleship
The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” – Matthew 21:6-9
Jesus set up his donkey ride outside Jerusalem and slowly approached; there was time for a crowd to build, and boy, does a crowd build. People are putting symbols of victory all over the road.
It’s tempting to listen to crowds.
Not just to what they say, but to what they mean.
The most well-intentioned friends in the world can turn our head by encouragement toward the seeming good rather than the actual great.
Who do you listen to?
The crowds were shouting bits of Psalm 118 at Jesus – “Lord, save us! [Hosanna] Lord, grant us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” They weren’t wrong to call Jesus “Lord.” But they wanted political freedom – not a bad thing to want – while he was busy saving the universe from sin, death, and self-destruction.
What do people want from you? It can be so difficult to tell. Should you let that guide your decisions? It can be so difficult to tell. Are your crowds saying the right thing but meaning the wrong thing? It can be so difficult to tell.
At some point, there’s nothing you can do to discern where to go but to practice the process of discerning by trying something. Depending on your direction, someone is likely to be unhappy with your decision. Sometimes discernment comes after you initially say “yes;” sometimes discernment comes on your way, in the process. Sometimes discernment comes after you think you’ve landed on the right decision but despite others’ affirmation, you don’t have peace, you can’t sleep. Sometimes discernment comes in retrospect, when you can see more clearly, and that experience helps hone your wisdom and discernment for future decisions.
There are times when people won’t understand or affirm your decisions; affirmation isn’t always a sign of God’s guidance. If Jesus had thought, “I’ll see what Simon Peter thinks about what my next actions should be,” all would have been lost.
Who do you listen to? Why? Are there people who influence your actions, your decisions, your thinking? Who do you let hold the keys to your life? How do you discern when someone has your best interest at heart – but still may be misled about the way you should go? How do you discern when someone doesn’t have your best interest at heart? How do you discern when to listen to community – which can be important – and when to ignore the crowd and do the hard thing no one is asking you to do – no one, except perhaps God?
Pray today that God will help you to see clearly. That God’s Word will help direct your feet on the road you should take today, whether or not it makes sense to the crowd. That you will have a secure sense of your identity – who you are, what your values are, and what you’re willing to fight for. That you’ll know who to listen to in community, and who to ignore as the crowd.
*Have you ever said the right thing while wanting the wrong thing? Who is your community? Who is your crowd?