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Mar 24, 2024

The Crowds That Jesus Encounters

The Crowds That Jesus Encounters

Passage: Mark 11:1-11

Speaker: Matt Petty

Series: Road To The Cross

Category: Sunday Sermons

Keywords: church, worship, faith, jesus, easter, sunday, god, sermon, cross, christian, bible, christ, gospel, hope, sermons, jesus christ, messiah, the bible, lord, christianity, jerusalem, holy, bible study, palm sunday, divine, holy week, easter story, bible stories, study the bible, jesus walks, bible teaching, jesus is king, jesus story, road to the cross, burnt hickory worship, burnt hickory baptist church live stream, easter 2024

It’s Palm Sunday, and we are following Jesus on the road to the cross as He enters Jerusalem surrounded by crowds. What we learn in today’s study of scripture is that we are represented in the different personas of the crowd. We might be concerned with what’s in it for us, but we need to question if the foundation of our relationship with Jesus is following His desires and glory or our glory. Maybe we think we are smarter than God, but we should be asking ourselves whose approval we truly live for. Maybe we are fickle, but we should be asking ourselves if our lives primarily display our own lordship or the Lordship of Jesus. Or are we following Jesus anywhere because He is God? As we look to Easter and celebrate the Lord’s Supper one more time, take time to reflect both on Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross but also on your personal response to Him. What crowd do you fall in, and what is standing in the way of you accepting Jesus as Lord in your life? As always, if you’ve got questions or need prayer, we’d love to connect with you, pray with you, and answer any questions you have. You can celebrate the next step in your faith journey by visiting –

For the last couple of weeks, we’ve been beginning every single message in the same way. And that is praying towards Easter weekend. And we're doing it for a very, very specific reason. We know that, obviously, we are completely committed to public gatherings and public worship and hearing the word divided over us. But also on Easter, we know that it is a particularly special weekend, and many, many, many people are really responsive to the invitation to come with us.

So a couple of weekends ago, I just challenged us every week that we were going to begin every message time by praying for three very specific things. Number one, we're praying that God would place on every single one of our hearts, every one of us, a family or an individual that could come and worship with us on Resurrection weekend. They can come to be with us as a family. Secondly, we're praying that God would just go ahead before we even mention it and soften their hearts to the idea of being invited to this. You say, Matt, what are you talking about? What does that soften their hearts mean? It means this. It means that God has already gone before us. And it's almost like they're waiting on us to ask them to come. You know what I'm talking about. Maybe you've been in that situation before. To where it's almost like you're like, man. Finally, you asked, yes, I'm in. And that's what we're praying this week: that God would go ahead and do that with people. And then third, we're just praying quite specifically that God would just do an incredibly mighty, mighty, mighty act next week amongst us. That his holy Spirit would do something that our planning couldn't plan for, our praying wouldn't even be praying for this. He would move. We've been praying those three things for next weekend, and it's going to be here before you know it. So, I want us to do that before we jump into the message this morning. So, let's just pray together.

Lord Jesus, today, God, we are walking into an incredibly significant week and weekend. And God, right now, I am just specifically praying that every single person who hears this message today would just be compelled by your spirit with a family, with an individual, with a group that they could right now begin to invest and invite to one of the next weekend services. Lord, I do just pray that you go ahead now and go before us and soften hearts. God, show us how you are even moving ahead of us to prepare people to be with us. Lord, I also just come to you and humbly beg you, Lord, to move in a mighty, mighty, mighty way next weekend, Lord Jesus, show yourself. Allow your Holy Spirit to have free reign in this place. God, we pray that many come to know you as Savior and that many surrender their hearts and lives to you. Many come back to you. Lord Jesus and that God, you would begin a mighty movement in West Cobb and North Paulding for your name and your renown. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for this time in this place. Send us this week as your messengers, Jesus. In your name, Amen, and amen.

Well, I want to officially welcome you to what is called the Holy Week. Or maybe you have heard it called the Passion Week because here's what I know. Whether you have been in church your whole life, or you're or you're super new to the faith this is your kind of first go through. Or maybe you're a person who knows every detail of the Passion Week, or maybe you're just vaguely aware that there is a holiday coming up. My guess is that this week, all of us can kind of come together and agree that we are walking into a week that just holds incredible significance on this planet. You know, when you really kind of peel back the week and start looking at the week and time and the events and the people and the places that took place on Sunday to Sunday of the year A.D. 33. When you begin to look at that week, the week that Jesus Christ became sin for us, there is no mistaking when you look at that week of the plan and of the power and of the love that we can see that is on display during this incredibly significant and specific week. In fact, there's no mistake in that. God, from the beginning of time, had been pointing to this season on the earth, to that moment on the earth, to that year on the earth, to that place on the earth. And that God lined up all of these events for this year, in the year A.D. 33, to make the perfect time for him to do what he did.

Now I can feel the kind of tension in the room of, like, Matt, what are you what are you talking about? How would you say that it is the perfect moment? Well, this is really, really important. And what I want to do just for a few minutes is build a bridge that kind of shows you how significant the exact moment that Christ gave his life for us really was. Before we jump into our text this morning, we're going to start with Mark chapter 11. So let me show you the timing that God has set up for what Jesus has done for us and how we can say that there's no way that God could have picked a better week in history than this week of A.D. 33. If you look at this week. If you look 300 years before the week that Jesus walked to the cross, you would know that if you were a Jew, there was lots of talk that had been going on for over 300 years in the Jewish community that there was this guy that was going to come. There was the savior that was going to come. There was this guy that they would have just called a messiah, a warrior who was going to come and defeat their armies. In fact, if you lived during this time, and even if you were a little bitty kid, it was poured into you. This message of just wait, just wait, keep hoping.

Because one day, you were told over and over and over. One day, you will have a deliverer. This is incredibly important because if you go back to first-century Palestine you go back to the Jews of Jesus’ time. For a thousand years before the Holy Week of Jesus, there was very little freedom for God's people. In fact, just if you kind of look at the Old Testament as a whole, you will see that God's people kind of started off in bondage for him, for the people of Egypt. And then they went into bondage from the Babylonians. And then the Babylonians basically gave them to the Persians, and the Persians basically gave them over to the Greeks. And then the Greeks basically were conquered by the Romans, and all of this time, God's people were just being kind of handed to the next people, to the next people. They had very little freedom and very few liberties. And in this time, when Jesus was walking the earth, they were not necessarily in slavery to Rome, but Rome had overtaken pretty much the whole known world at this time.

This is incredibly significant because the week that Jesus was about to give his life was a week when Rome was totally under control. They had totally unified the area. They had had trade routes made and roads all over the world. There was a known language all over the world. And what Jesus is about to do at this point could be spread and told like, no time in history before. So this little podunk agricultural nation called Israel had been crying out for a thousand years for a messiah, for the deliverer, because there was no way for them to overtake any nation. So I just wanted in your minds, for you to kind of feel where the Jews were, where God's people were. They were waiting and waiting and waiting for this very moment. And you can kind of even go one step forward and say. It's not just the time period of history that is important. Even the week that God chose for this to happen is incredibly significant. In fact, the week that this happened was during a week that the Jews would just call Passover. They would call it Passover.

It was a Holy Week that celebrates the Passover of the death Angel in Egypt before they were delivered. It was a week that every great Jewish family, at least one time during their life, had to come to the temple to worship God at the temple of God. In fact, there was a law in the Jewish books that said if you lived within 15 miles of the temple, you had to come every single year for the Passover to celebrate it in Jerusalem. So, the holy city of Jerusalem, during this moment that God chose for this thing that is about to happen, which we're going to look at this week, is incredibly big. The city of Jerusalem, which is usually at about 400,000 people, has swollen over ten times its normal size, with all the people coming in to celebrate the Passover.

The crowds were spilling out into the exterior regions of the city. The streets were full. The hotels were full, the campgrounds were full. There's this nationalism that is on the rise, and patriotism for the people of God is incredibly strong this week. For 30 days prior to the Passover, every single Jewish synagogue would have had to teach what the Passover looks like. So, this week is incredibly big. In fact, it's a pivotal week in the Jewish year that celebrates this on this side, this history of slavery. But on this side, this promise of hope. On this side, this incredibly oppressed life that they had lived. But on this side, there was a promise of a Savior that was going to come, and they would have used the word a messiah is coming. So those are incredibly significant. But on top of that, what made it even more significant this time was that for three years prior to this week of AD 33, for three years, there were these rumors, there were these stories, and there were these testimonies of this man that was called Jesus from Nazareth, right. They'd been hearing the accounts. They had been hearing the stories, these incredibly impactful stories about what Jesus had done. They had heard that they had taken this, that Jesus, this incredible guy, had taken these 5000 people and fed them from the Lunchable, from this one little bitty boy. They heard the story of a blind guy the last week who had been in the bondage of being blind that now can see. They had heard the stories of Lazarus being dead and now alive. They had heard the stories of people with leprosy who are now cleansed.

And this guy named Jesus that walks on water, that comes in the name of the Lord. And all these testimonies were building and building. There were three years of them. And we get to this moment. I hope you're feeling kind of what is happening and how this is so big, and how this is so big, and how this little poor nation super oppressed time. The tensions are high, but things are different. And we come to this one moment, this one-week event of the Passion Week. Now, in our minds, we've kind of broken the Passion Week down into a kind of, I don't know, Palm Sunday, Silent Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday. We kind of broke it down. But really and truly, it is one long event of Jesus putting his face, putting his devotion, putting his life toward the cross. And here's what we're going to do this morning. We're in the series that we're just kind of just looking at it on a road to the cross. We're going to take Jesus, not in one little bitty story like Blind Bartimaeus, or maybe in the garden last week. But we're going to take the whole event of Jesus from Palm Sunday to being to be risen from the grave.

We're going to look at it through the lens of some people with whom Jesus came in contact. Now, last week was incredibly theological and heavy. When Jesus became sin for us, this week is going to be incredibly just applicable for our lives and a huge amount of application. Because here's what I want you to do this morning: it is very, very simple. I want you to ask yourself the question this morning: which one of these crowds that Jesus comes in contact with do I see myself in? Or which one of them, if I was walking with him in first-century Jerusalem on the Passion Week, which one of them would I be in? And we're going to start our whole morning off by walking into the palm Sunday text. That's a day, right? That is five days before the crucifixion, and we're going to see a snapshot of the people with whom Jesus came in contact, which, I might add, these people still exist today. All right. Let me catch up on the story. Jesus has come out of Jericho. He's come into Bethany.

That's where we're going to pick him up. He is about to come into the city of Jerusalem to cue all the other things that are going to happen throughout the week this week. I'm begging you to read on your own, and let's catch up with them. What happens on Palm Sunday? Mark chapter 11, verse one. It says this. It says as they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethpage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, go into the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there. Which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you why you are doing this, Just say that the Lord needs it, and we'll send it back shortly. They went, and they found the colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. and as they untied it, some people standing there asked, what are you doing untying that colt? And they answered, as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go.

Now, this is one of the strangest texts in all of the resurrection accounts, but I love it because it's in every single gospel. It's almost as if every single writer of the gospel went, hey, listen, we really don't know how all this happened, but we know that it did happen. So we're going to put it in our little book, right? We're going to put it in our message to the rest of the churches because this thing is so strange, but it's really not strange if you know the Old Testament. Right. In Zechariah 9:9, there's a prophecy that says that the Messiah, the one that is going to come and save Israel, is going to come riding in on a colt, riding in on a donkey, which nobody in that time period would have understood because they would say, no way, a king, no way, a messiah, no way a warrior would ever ride on a donkey that would always be on a mighty horse. Well, Jesus says, okay, watch this. He looks at two of his disciples, and he says, hey, you two, you should come on over here. You and I know your question, Matt. Which two is it? I would say I have no idea about this. I spent a couple of hours trying to figure it out this week, and there's no way nobody knows who it is. I do probably say it's not Peter because nobody talked back. Right.

But I can just see in the thing that there are just two of the disciples. I don't know. Pick two you want it to be, and it'll work. He looks at two of these disciples, and he says, listen, here's what I want you to do. Go into the town and steal a donkey. Basically, that's what he's saying, right? I mean, not really, but I mean, you get the mix. He's right. Steall me, a donkey. Not just any donkey, a young donkey that nobody has ever ridden. I don't know a lot about riding donkeys, but I don't want to ride one that nobody has ever ridden. But Jesus did. So what did they do? They did. They walked into the city. They looked at whoever this donkey owner was and said, like a good clandestine spy would say, hey, the Lord needs it. And he was like, okay, that's all I need to hear. What's in my mind? I'm like, man, that's some faith. I mean, it really is. This has nothing really to do with the message, but how many times in our life does God ask something of us, and we don't look at it open-handed? We just came up with a whole bunch of excuses the donkey owner didn't. To which that's who I need to be, right? But what do these guys do?

They go into the city. They get the donkey. And from this moment on, we begin to see the four crowds. And what I'm just going to call the four crowds of the Passion Week that still exists today. Now, I just want you to do a self-evaluation this morning. I don't care about the notes. I don't care about you writing a bunch of stuff today. All I care about you today is to ask yourself, which one of these crowds am I in, and what can I do to get into the fourth one? All right, I don't want to really know too much of the story, but you don't want to be in the first three, all right? You don't. You want to be in the fourth crowd of the story. The first three crowds kind of get it wrong. All right. Haven't figured it out yet, but we start to see the crowds at the entry into Jerusalem. If I take it up right here in the text, Mark chapter 11, verse seven, watch what it says. This is Palm Sunday. Here it is. It says when they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road while others spread branches they had cut from the fields in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father, David. Hosanna in the highest heaven, and Jesus in Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the 12.

Now, I love verse 11 because it basically just says Jesus comes into the city. We're going to see that in just a minute. But he looks around at the temple. You say, man, why did he just look at it and go out? The next day? He was casing the place to see what he was about to do the next day. So Matt, what is he going to do the next day? You got to go read that on your own during this week. Okay. He's about to throw the temple tables over. But what we're seeing here is Palm Sunday, and Jesus is riding in through the East Gate of Jerusalem. He's riding in. Now, in your mind, I need you to picture him. He's not by himself. He's not just with the 12 disciples. I need you to picture Jesus riding on this young little colt with the coats on it, with thousands of people around him. Because that's exactly what it would have been. It wasn't a small crowd. It was a bunch of people. This had been mounting from the time he crossed over the Jordan into Jericho, out of Jericho, ascending into Bethany, out of Bethany, and into Jerusalem. The people were mounting around him. And it says in the Scripture right here that people were throwing coats on the ground. They were placing these palm branches on the road in front of them. Now, to us, that's a little bit of a weird deal for us. Like, I'm not putting my coat in front of an animal. I see what happens when they're going right. I'm not doing it. But for them, it was a big deal because it was an Old Testament practice that welcomed a triumphant king back into a city that had saved a nation or had saved a people group or had saved a city.

So they're doing what has been done for generations and generations to look at a savior, to look at a king, and to welcome him back into the city. Are you seeing it now? That is exactly what they're doing. Except for this guy Jesus, he is not on a horse. He is not on it. Although he will be the next time he rides into Jerusalem. Amen. He is on a colt at this point, and he is coming in. They're throwing their branches down before him because they have been hearing the stories of this Messiah, and they have been seeing that Jesus seems to match the description of the one that is going to deliver them. That's what they're seeing. That's why they're doing this. And so we're starting to see this crowd. Now, remember, there's a bunch of people in your mind. Jesus is riding into the city. Keep looking at those same verses right there. And I don't know who shouted it, but I need you to get it in your mind. Right there, riding into the city in verse nine. I don't know who they shout at, but somebody in the crowd shouts the word Hosanna. Right? We're just going through the text.

To us, that's not a big deal because that's just a big churchy word that we sing in worship songs, and we don't know what it means, right? But Hosanna literally just means save now. That's all it means in English. Okay? The word hosanna means save now. Or you could say save us now. So in your minds and your imagination, in your sanctified imagination, just picture Jesus riding in, and there's some guy in the back of the crowd that all of a sudden, above the whole crowd, shouts out Hosanna! Or shout out, save now! Till now, you've been at the Braves game. Do you know what it's like when one guy just keeps shouting something, and he doesn't quit? What happens? Everybody starts shouting the same thing. So now that's what you're seeing in this account.

One guy’s saying save now, save now, save now. The crowd joins in, and then all of a sudden, in verse nine, we see that it doesn't stop there. There's another person in the crowd who is not only saying save now, but somebody else in the crowd says, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Now, this takes it up another notch.

Now, we've gone from save now to save now in God's authority. Save now with God's authority. You can almost just hear the crowd in your mind. Save now with God's authority. Save now with God's power. And then you get down to verse ten. Verse ten takes it up not one notch, but it takes it up like five more notches. And this is the one that probably blows the top off of the crowd. It's when somebody says, not only save now with God's power, but somebody in the crowd says, bring the kingdom of David. Now for us. I mean, that's kind of weird. Why don't I care about David's kingdom if I'm looking at God right? Well, you're not Jewish. To a Jew in this time, David's kingdom was the pinnacle of what a nation should look like. David's kingdom and what they had been praying for from the time David left till now, that this Messiah would come and bring them back into. Why? When you bring up David's kingdom, David's kingdom is the last one that has power. It was the last one that had prosperity. It's the last one that had all the war ready, and it's the last one that had peace.

So now, what do you see in the crowd shouting? The crowd is shouting, save now, and you have the power to make things right. Make things right. Now, I need you to put that in your mind because this makes all the difference in the world. Save now, and you have the power to make things right. Save now, and you have the power to make things right. Now, from glancing inward at this crowd and how you probably even studied this as a kid. You looked up to the people on this first day. But here's what I want to show you about these people. This group of people really was not about anything but Jesus doing something for them. In fact, write this down. Maybe it'll help you think about it this week. Here's the first crowd. Here's how I’ll define them. It’s the what's in it for me, crowd. It's the what's in it for me, crowd. It's Jesus; help me now and fix this now, crowd. It's the Jesus, do this for me now.

Okay, now I know, I know, I know, I know what you're thinking. Matt, are you trying to tell me that I don't need to ask God for anything? No, that's not what I'm saying. That's not what their problem was. You see, their problem is that they're not about a relationship with the savior. They're just about wanting a Jesus to do something for them. They're not about a relationship. They're not about worshiping Jesus. They just want Jesus to do it for them and do it now. And it's not about an eternal fellowship with God. It's just about God prospering them, raising them up, making them better. And let me just be honest with you, just for a minute. I can slip into this crowd sometimes, and don't be judging me because you can too. Here's the deal. We might not scream this at God, but we pray it. We might not yell this at God riding down the road, but we pray it. He said no, I don't, man.

Okay, let me just show you how sometimes my prayer life gets, and maybe yours too. God, I need you to do this. And I need you to do this. I need you to do this. I need you to do this. I need you to do this. And then I finished that up with Amen. Because evidently, that's some kind of sign that God will quit listening to me and do what I tell him to do. And then I'm done. Right? It's the same thing. Or maybe it's like this: God hears my problem, and God hears my problem, and God hears my problem. And God, I'm really not concerned with being with you. I'm really not concerned with worshiping you. I'm really not concerned with surrendering my life to you and giving you the lordship of my life.

I just need you to do this for me. Church, that's what this first crowd is hollering. That's why we're spending so much time on this crowd. Because, listen, this crowd, this crowd still exists today. This crowd right here is the same crowd that we're going to. They're going to hear Jesus teach all week long. I mean, they're going to see Jesus arrested later in the week. They're going to see and be found guilty. They're going to see Jesus be beaten beyond recognition. And then this crowd, you're going to see later on that the same crowd is going to look into the beaten face of Jesus and say, literally, you did not fix our problems. You didn't do it. I still have the same bad relationships. I still have the same burdens. I still have the same finances. I still have this. They're going to look at Jesus and say, what did you do? I thought you were going to save us. In fact, look at this group later on in the week. Mark 15, verse eight, it says this. After Jesus is arrested, Mark 15:8 says, the crowd, there they are. They're still there. The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.

Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews? Pilot asked, knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priest had handed Jesus over to them. But the chief priest stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead. What shall I do then, with the one that you call the King of the Jews? Pilate asked them. Verse 13, crucify him! What did they do? Watch this; they're good at it. They shouted. Why? What crime has he committed? Asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, crucify him! Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them and had Jesus flogged, and he handed him over to be crucified. Do you see how this crowd changed? Do you see?

They went from saying, Hosanna, save us in God's power, to five days later, they're shouting something else again, but now they're shouting, crucify him! Crucify him, crucify him! Let me just give you something to remember. If your and my relationship with Jesus is primarily built on what's in it for me thinking, let me just tell you this. We're always going to be one disappointment, one suffering, one question, and one unanswered prayer away from not surrendering to Jesus. And it's what we're seeing right here. So here's the question. You can write it down. Is the foundation of my relationship with Jesus his desires and glory, or my desires and glory? You know, I can't tell you how many times I've had somebody at some stage of life come in for counseling and literally say, hey, you know what, Pastor Matt? I have tried God out, and it just didn't seem like he delivered me the way I thought he should. Therefore, I'm just going to go do my thing. That's the, what's in it for me, crowd. That's the first crowd.

Here's a second crowd. These are shorter. The second crowd is what I'm just going to call the I'm smarter than God crowd. I'm smarter than God, crowd. Now, we see this crowd all week long. Actually, we see them from the beginning of Jesus's ministry all the way through the end of Jesus's ministry. And this crowd is the religious leaders of the Jews. We see them all over, but I want to read one account from them right here. And this is right before Jesus is arrested. Here's what it says in Mark 14, verse one. It says, Now the Passover in the festival of the unleavened bread was two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. Verse two. But not during the festival, they said, or the people may riot.

Now, this crowd is super religious, right? They know the Bible, they know the Old Testament, but they just wanted their way and they just wanted their power to remain the same. So, therefore, this crowd could really be defined by people who fear people more than they fear God. Why? Because they wanted to remain in power. They didn't want Rome to get involved. They didn't want any of their leaders to get involved. They just wanted Jesus to go away. And they thought that they were smarter. They thought that they had a better connection to God, and they thought they knew what to do. And so, really write this question now, and then we'll talk more about this crowd. This crowd is the crowd that struggles with the question, whose approval do I really live for? Whose approval? You know, I know I've been in this crowd before, and I know we've all been in this crowd before, right? Many times. We've all been there. Why? Because living for the approval of man is such an easy thing to do. And I'll just be kind of self-confessed for a minute. I can even slip into that on what and how I even lead and preach in the church because the approval of men is such a big thing. But I want you to see what happens to this crowd and how Jesus talks to this crowd at the end of Matthew chapter 14.

This crowd is questioning Jesus, but he's silent. He's not saying anything. They're hoping Jesus would give them a reason to arrest him. In Mark 14, verse 61. Watch this account for this crowd. It says, But Jesus remained silent. Jesus has just been arrested. He's going through these little phony trials. But Jesus remained silent, and he gave no answer. Again, the high priest asked him, are you the Messiah? They're trying to trick Jesus. I'm trying to think they're smarter than Jesus. Are you the Messiah, the son of the Blessed One? Look at verse 62. You might want to circle this. This changes everything. Jesus said, I am. I am. And watch what Jesus said, and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One, coming on the clouds of heaven. The High Priest tore his clothes. Why do we need any more witnesses? He asked. You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think? And they all condemned Jesus as worthy of death. And then some began to spin on him. They blindfolded him. They struck him with their fist and said, prophesy! And the guards took him and beat him. This is the moment that Jesus makes the most incredible reference that he is God.

Now, if you know the New Testament, he makes the same statement that Moses got when God was saying, who do I need to tell them who you are? Jesus steps up right here and says, I'm him. And this crowd went crazy. They went crazy. They're looking at Jesus going. He's claiming to be God. There's no way he's God. There's no way he's the one. There's no way he's going to be the one that tells me what to do. Now look, here's the deal. They're literally claiming to be smarter than God. Now, none of us would say that out loud, right? We're good church people, but oh man, do we live like it so many times, don't we? Man, we live like it. You say, Matt, how in the world do I live like I'm smarter than God? Listen, we live like we're smarter than God every time we know something that God tells us to do, and we don't do it. We live like we're smarter than God every time we know that the word says something and the word gives us a command. Yet, I choose my desires and my wants in my life over God's life. We live like we're smarter than God every time we say the words, well, my God would never. If it doesn't line up with scripture.

It's the same crowd, and we all fall into it every now and then. But Jesus in verse 62, Jesus says clearly, I am God no matter what you think. Now look, the results of crowd one and the results of crowd two are really the same. They just live a life of disappointment, and they live a life of a false sense of a relationship with Jesus. But you know how you can not be in one of these crowds. Submit to King Jesus and give him your life. Crowd one is the what's in it for me crowd. Crowd two is I'm smarter than God crowd. Crowd three, this really hurts a little bit. But crowd three is the crowd that I'm just going to define as the great story; see you next year, crowd. Great story. And listen, this crowd is strong. This crowd is all over the place. This crowd is probably up to 4 million people in the town who know enough about God to come to celebrate the holiday because Grandma wants me there. The clan says I need to be there, and I just think it's something I need to do.

However, this crowd has no idea who Jesus is or what Jesus is doing. When you think about it, this crowd is massive at the beginning of the week on the road to the triumphant entry. But they're not at the crucifixion. They're not at the resurrection that we're going to see next week because this crowd doesn't even realize it's happening. The sad part about this crowd is they're there just for a holiday. They're there just to say, hey, great story, see you next Easter or Christmas. Amen. The crowd still exists. I can say that today because you guys aren't here on either one of those days, right? It's the crowd that goes; I know enough about it to get there, but it really doesn't matter. Here's the question for this crowd. Is my life primarily a display of my lordship and desires or the lordship of Jesus Christ? Because that's what that crowd says when they're not there and not involved.

Number one, it's for what's in it for me. Number two is I'm smarter than God. Number three, it's the 4 million other people that we don't see anything of later on. It's to see you next year, crowd. But number four, here's the last crowd. It's the smallest crowd of the whole batch. And it's the crowd that literally just says; I'll follow Jesus anywhere because he's God, crowd. Church, this is the smallest crowd, but this is the crowd that truly has a relationship with Jesus. This is the crowd that truly realizes what's going on. This is the crowd. Are they perfect? No, they're not perfect. Are they going to have some rough times? Yeah, they're going to have some rough times. But this is the crowd that makes everything happen. Do you know the saddest part about this whole story that we've been talking about right here? It’s that every single crowd that I have talked about feels like, feels like, are you catching me?

It feels like in their heart that their relationship with God is okay, but it's not. Only this crowd that looks to Jesus as Lord truly has a relationship with Jesus as Lord. This is the crowd that is in Acts chapter one, all the way through the book of Acts. So we're going to see that Jesus used to start his church. This is the crowd; almost every single one of them gives their life to Jesus. This is the crowd that has been walking with Jesus and the disciples for the last three years. This is the crowd that is Joseph of Arimathea that gives Jesus a tomb. He stands before Pilate boldly and says, just give me my Lord's body, and I will bury it. This is the crowd; the ladies that were at the crucifixion there were at the tomb. They will see a little bit of next week. This is the crowd that no matter what the risk, no matter what the pain, no matter what the humbling situation, looks to Jesus as not just a guy who rides into town on a donkey but a God that can save their lives.

Church, that's the Passion Week, and that's the call that Jesus has on our lives. And that's the ones of us who know that he's our Savior. We're going to close this service a little bit differently this morning, and we're going to end by celebrating the Lord's Supper together. Because that's where this crowd kind of gathered last before the crucifixion. In fact, Luke says it like this. This is the night before Jesus was betrayed. It says, when the hour came. Luke 22:14. Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And Jesus said to them, I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. I love the fact that Jesus is about to turn the Passover into the Lord's Supper because he is literally about to become the Passover Lamb. In verse 16, he says, for I tell you, I will not eat again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God. After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, take this cup. And divided among you, for I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes. And then he said, this is my body given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after supper, he took the cup, saying, this cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

Now, if you were here last week, you saw Jesus take the cup of wrath on our behalf. And this week, Jesus is saying, this is the new cup of my blood that is going to be shed for you. This is what I'm about to do, Jesus is saying. This is how it's about to go down. Jesus is saying that I'm about to spill my blood. You're about to see my body be put on display for the sins of the world. But he looks into the souls of the disciples and says, you've been waiting on this. You've been waiting on this. You've been taught about this since you were a kid. I told you this was coming as I rode in. I told you, this is coming every time you forget. And every time we had to have this conversation again, that I am the Lord and I am the Savior, and I am about to become sin on your behalf. And now today, he looks at those disciples, and he said, let's celebrate what I'm about to do for you.

Now, church, we celebrate it a little bit differently because we're celebrating what Christ has done for us, but in the same mode as the disciples and the church for thousands of years has done. Today, we come to this cup. You say, Matt, who takes the Lord's Supper? Any of us that have a relationship with Jesus. One who has had him forgive us of our sins and give us new life. This is for you today. It's not a Burnt Hickory thing. It's not a Baptist thing. It's a if you have given your life to Jesus, we ask you to celebrate this and look towards the cross thing. But it's not for people who haven't given their life to Christ because why would you? If you don't understand what Christ has done, why celebrate what he has done? But I can tell you this: if you want to give your life to Jesus at this very moment, this is for you because that's what he came for.

So, in just a moment, I'm going to invite you when your heart is ready to tear open the bread side and partake of it. Tear open the juice side and partake of it. And ask, Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus, move in me. Show me yourself this week. Make my heart fully yours.

Lord Jesus, today we thank you, Lord Jesus. We thank you for not only just riding into Jerusalem and not only the trials and not only the cross. We thank you for the resurrection that we're going to celebrate next weekend. That you have given us life. As we celebrate this time, God, just show our hearts what it looks like for us to be in that fourth crowd. Lord Jesus, it's in your name we pray.

Amen, Amen.

You partake as your heart is ready, and then you worship. On the backside of that, the ushers have some elements for you if you didn't get them on the way in. And then I'll close this up after a few minutes.

Follow Along with the Message

The Crowds That Jesus Encounters

March 24, 2024

Mark 11:1–6
1 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’” 4 They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, 5 some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 6 They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go.
Mark 11:7–11
7 When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9 Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “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 heaven!” 11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

The 4 Crowds of Passion Week

1. The ‘What’s in It for ?’ Crowd

Mark 15:8–15
8 The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did. 9 “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, 10 knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead. 12 “What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them. 13 “Crucify him!” they shouted. 14 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” 15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

QUESTION: Is the foundation of my relationship with Jesus His and glory or my desires and glory?

2. The ‘I’m than God’ Crowd

Mark 14:1–2
1 Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. 2 “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.”

QUESTION: Whose approval do I truly for?

Mark 14:61–65
61 But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” 62 “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 63 The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. 64 “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” They all condemned him as worthy of death. 65 Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him.

3. The ‘Great Story; See You ’ Crowd

QUESTION: Is my life primarily a display of my lordship and desires or the of Christ?

4. The ‘I’ll Follow Jesus Anywhere Because He Is ’ Crowd

Mark 15:43–47
43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. 45 When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.

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