The final stages of Jesus ministry approaches as Jesus enters into Jerusalem to be put to death. Jesus at this time has reached the peak of his renown and everywhere he goes crowds follow him. The work that he has done, the teachings he has given and the miracles he has performed have shown the people that he is the Messiah. The people recognise him as someone great and they treat him as a king as he makes his way into Jerusalem.
Initially in this section we see Jesus operate a word of knowledge as he instructs the disciples. He tells them of events he could not have seen and how they are to get the ass and it’s colt and bring them to him. He also tells them what to say if challenged. This was all done to fulfil prophecy as further proof that Jesus is the Messiah. (Verses 1-7)
We see also in this section the impact of the crowd mentality. They all thought as one as they put their garments on the road and cut branches from trees to lay before him and shouted blessings saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David.” (Verses 8-9) The crowd in their enthusiasm worshiped Jesus and bestowed on him the praise and reverence associated with a king. And he is a king and worthy to be praised. Indeed, in the version of this in Luke 19 we see the Pharisees telling Jesus to rebuke the people, asking that they should be told to be silent. But Jesus responded saying, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” (Luke 19:40)
Crowd mentalities though can be very fickle. While Jesus was in Jerusalem he did many more wondrous signs and taught the people of the coming kingdom. But we see that in just a few days time, the crowd were stirred up to condemn him and to call for his execution.
One of the things we learn from this is the importance to weigh things for ourselves. The mentality of a crowd is driven by emotion, not by reason. Crowd mentality is carried along and swayed by the passions and desires of the leaders of the crowd. The purpose of Jesus’ teaching was to bring us to a place where we could stand as individuals, fully understanding the word of truth and not carried along by the crowd. Paul shows that God has given gifts to the Church so that we can grow and be stable. He says in Ephesians 4:11-14,
11 And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers,
12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles.
We must learn Jesus lessons so that we too are not tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. The crowd that followed Jesus were examples of this issue. On his triumphant entry they praised and worshiped him as King. Several days later they turned on him and cried for his execution. Both of these situations were in the will of God, and both were meant to occur as they did. But the lesson we need to take is not to get caught up in the “group think” of the crowd. We must weigh all matters up in the light of the scripture and in consultation with the Lord through prayer to come to the truth of a matter. Then we can stand stable and sure and not carried along by the will of the mob.