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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Step Away From the Crowd (Mark 11:9-10)

"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!"

Aren't crowds great? One minute the crowd shouts out "Hosanna!" and the next week they cry out "Crucify Him!" Crowds are unreliable; one minute they praise you only to curse you the next.

Success thrives on moving the crowd but can the response of the crowd be trusted? Just because they are a large group doesn't mean they are a deep group yet modern Christianity gauges success by the largeness of the crowd. Jesus spoke to large crowds but He concentrated on small groups and individuals as He looked for hearts of faith. Individuals of faith stand out and won't generally belong to the crowd.

Fickle followers hide within large groups where accountability and transparency are absent. They are easily swayed by the group opinion and charismatic leaders and swept away into making decisions they may live to regret.

Truths from the Gospels about crowds:
  • Herod feared to kill John the Baptist right away because of the crowd's respect for John the Baptist (Matthew 14:5)
  • The crowds, with their desperate needs, attracted the compassion of Jesus Christ (Matthew 14:14)
  • Jesus fed large crowds (Matthew 15:32)
  • Large crowds are easily swayed; they were persuaded to exchange Barrabas' death for Jesus'
  • Judas "joined the crowd" (Mark 14:43; Luke 19:39)
  • Pharisees hid in the crowd (Luke 22:47)
  • The multitudes follow those whom they perceive will meet their immediate needs (John 6:2)
Want some perspective? Step away from the crowd.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Luke 19:1-10
  • How does this narrative about Zacchaeus demonstrate Jesus' teaching on rich men and the eye of the needle? And entering the kingdom with the attitude of a child?
  • What does Jesus do that the Pharisees would never do?
Mark 11:1-11; Matthew 21:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19
What does this narrative teach about the:
  • The Scriptures -
  • The crowds -
  • Jesus -
  • The Pharisees -
  • the disciples -
Mark 11:12-25; Matthew 21:12-22; Luke 19:45-48
  • Why do the chief priests and teachers look for a way to kill Jesus?
  • Why wasn't the temple a house of prayer?
  • How does Jesus demonstrate the power of prayer?
  • What is happening at the temple that infuriates the the chief priests and teachers?
Turning truth into prayer
God may speak to a crowd of people through the proclamation of the Word but He mainly speaks to individuals through prayer and the Word. Be a person of private devotion. Ask the Lord to enrich your time you spend with Him by making it deep and then wide.