These two events took place four days apart. It is logical to assume that essentially the same people were present on both occasions. How is it that the same people who worshiped Jesus and would have made Him King on Sunday would turn Him in and demand His death on Thursday? What emotional chemistry was working in their minds that would have turned them so completely around? As we study these two occasions the answers begin to take shape.
Text: Matthew 21:1-9 and Matthew 27:17-25
1. They had faith without facts
I. They knew very little about Jesus. Their preconceived expectations distorted their thinking. They were looking for an earthly king to lead revolution. They misunderstood what the Messiah was to be. The idea of a “Suffering Savior” was unpalatable to them
II. A thorough knowledge of the Word would have changed their thinking. People today are often drawn to Jesus by their own preconceived notions of what and who He is. They expect Jesus to be their sugar daddy, not their LORD.
III. Everybody takes a leap of faith to find Christ. The balance between blind faith and intellectual faith is informed faith. Blind faith is faith without any facts. Intellectual faith is trying to find God through scientific inquiry. Informed faith gathers the data, then makes the decision to believe God. People who come to God with informed faith stick!
2. Excitement without experience
I. There were people there on Palm Sunday who were caught up in the emotion of the moment. No knowledge of Jesus; caught up with the crowd.
II. “Everybody else is doing it, so I will too!” We don’t want to be different; to stand out from the crowd! That same thinking caused them to cry, “Crucify Him!”
III. How many people have been caught up in an emotional altar call and responded emotionally without ever really experiencing God? (Illustration: My first trip to the altar was stirred by emotion; but nobody gave me the facts and I did not experience God.) Have you drifted away? Did you really experience God?
3. Confidence without commitment
I. Easy to sing Christ’s praises when everybody else was also. It costs nothing to go along with the crowd. There was no risk in being a believer on Palm Sunday
II. But, the men who walked proudly beside Jesus on Sunday were sneaking away in darkness on Thursday night. Those with even less commitment were crying for His blood.
III. Anyone can serve God on the mountain top, He’s looking for those who will serve Him in the valley. The measure of your faith is not how you rejoice in victory, but how you perform under fire… in the midst of the battle. It’s one thing to have confidence in Christ when everything is going your way; real commitment is when you have confidence in Christ even when things are going against you.
Some here have had a Palm Sunday experience with God, but have washed out on Thursday night. Jesus stands ready to forgive and give you a brand new start.
Taken from Dr. Arnold Lastinger's personal sermon notes collection.