If you’re a Christian and attend church regularly then you are familiar with Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, when we remember how Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey in sort of a parade fashion. During this occasion a very large crowd shouted and praised Him as a king as they laid their robes and palm branches on the road he traveled.
At this particular moment Jesus was popular with the crowd. Many were shouting “Hosanna!” (“please save us”) but weren’t sure why. All some knew was that this popular man called Jesus was in their midst and they just wanted in on the festivities, while others wanted Him to rule as their earthly leader. Precious few did it because they recognized He was actually the Son of God.
One time a man traveled to Zimbabwe where cattle were being raised. There among several hundred steers was a full-grown female elephant who had been “adopted” when she was young. She spent her days associating with cattle trying to fit in and be received by them.
Because the elephant was smarter than the cows, she sought ways to win their acceptance. She would use her trunk to unlock the gate even though she had no interest in escaping. And, believe it or not, she even tried to learn how to “moo”, so she could sound more like the “in group.” Isn’t it interesting what a little peer pressure will do? (This story was related by Dr. James Dobson.)
Peer pressure – it’s quite a powerful force. It can be good or bad. We can be pressured to do what’s right or it can lead us down paths we normally wouldn’t take if the decision were left entirely up to us, as was the case with the crowd on Palm Sunday.
“Brian, do you mean to say that praising Jesus Christ as King is wrong?” Of course not, in fact His praise should be continually on our lips. What I am saying is that many were saying the words because it was the popular thing to do at the moment but, for many, their heart wasn’t really in it, or was in it for the wrong reason because they misunderstood His Kingship.
The proof of negative peer pressure, however, would become evident in just a few short hours. It wouldn’t be long before most of this same crowd would be shouting “crucify Him!”
Whether it’s Palm Sunday, Easter, or any other day of the year it’s important we give our praise to Jesus Christ, but we should know why we’re doing it…
…because He’s the great God Who created the universe.
…because He humbled Himself by leaving His throne in heaven and coming to live in the flesh among us human beings.
…because He chose to pay the penalty for our sins by dying for us.
…because He rose from the dead and is alive now.
…because He sent His Holy Spirit to empower us for abundant living and doing His work.
The answer is found in our heart as we focus on our relationship with Him. “But in your heart set apart Christ as Lord.” (I Peter 3:15)
Think about it, allowing Christ to be Lord, the controller and focus of our life, prevents us from a lot of fickleness, like “Hosanna! Crucify Him! Moo!”