Water for the Thirsty
Weekly Devotional

Water for the Thirsty

Are you fickle about Jesus?

Weekly Devotional

‘As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul pants for you, O God’. (Psalm 42:1)
‘…Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink”…’ (John 7:37)

Easter is a time marked by irony and paradox.

During Easter week, we see God in Jesus nailed to a cross and under a curse, and then we celebrate life attained through His death. All very strange!

But the bitter irony of Easter is nowhere more evident than in the famous scene on Palm Sunday,

‘The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the King of Israel!" Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, "Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey's colt." At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him. Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him. So the Pharisees said to one another, "See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!" (John 12:12–19)

The cruel irony is that within one week, the crowd that gladly welcomed Jesus to Jerusalem would be calling for his brutal death.

‘…Pilate…brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge's seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha)…"Here is your king," Pilate said to the Jews. But they shouted, "Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!" "Shall I crucify your king?" Pilate asked. "We have no king but Caesar," the chief priests answered. Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified’. (John 19:13-16)

Jesus was welcomed through the city gates like a king, but would soon be driven out of the same city, by many of the same people, to his death.

The architect of their own salvation was staring them in the face, but when Jesus turned out to be a different sort of saviour than the people wanted (they hoped he would lead a violent revolution against their Roman oppressors), they turned their backs on him.

Now what do you think when you read this story?

Can we, safely looking back with the benefit of thousands of years of hindsight, condemn the crowd for its fickleness?

Perhaps – But maybe we shouldn’t be too quick to condemn.

This is a drama that not only took place 2,000 years ago; it is one that all too often is still enacted by Christians.

What I long to imagine was a fickle crowd, an illustration of the power of mob thinking, or a sign of a hard-hearted people, only reminds me of our own vacillations with the Son of God.

How easily our declarations that he is Lord become denials of his power and sovereignty over our lives.

How readily hands waving in praise and celebration become fists raised at the heavens in pain or hardship.

Like a palm branch laid down and forgotten, the honour we bestow in our church service can easily be abandoned by the following Friday.

It’s not enough to condemn those who welcomed and then rejected Jesus during Palm Sunday and the subsequent Easter week events.

We must ask ourselves - this week, and next week, and every week - whether our own lives are marked by that same fickleness, that same vacillation between devotion and rejection.

And we must never cease giving thanks that Jesus’ love for each of us proves stronger than our faithlessness.

Have a good week contemplating your relationship with the Saviour,

Pastor Barry

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