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The Danger of Palm Sunday "Converts"

Today is the celebration of Palm Sunday and the start of the first day of Holy Week. It's would be good to address the problem of Palm Sunday "converts". The ministry of Jesus has this problem: many loved His miracles but hated His teachings. Palm Sunday would testify to how so many conversions today are superficial. They seem to be converted but results soon reveal that they aren't converts to start with. They're quick to wither like the palm leaves which Roman Catholics would bring to their Pharisees to have them superstitiously "blessed" with "holy water" but would eventually wither a few days later. 
John 6:26  
Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek Me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.

People thought Jesus was giving them free lunch, They followed Him hoping to get something. But the result was soon very sad. In fact, we have the sad tragic truth of betrayal.
John 6:66-71 
From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.
1 John 2:19 
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

That is the problem of fallen sinners. By default they are in opposition against God. By default, they wish God will magically solve their problems. Jesus didn't come to Earth to establish a welfare state. Instead, the Christian life is not meant to be an easy path. This was also the situation of Palm Sunday. Many who shouted "Hosanna in the highest!" would later shout, "Let Him be crucified." on what some would call as Good Friday.

Palm Sunday proves this fact that popularity with the world is fickle. Jesus entered on Palm Sunday on a donkey and palm leaves were waved welcoming Him. It was a fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9. Jesus was fulfilling the Old Testament prophecies which would include His rejection. It didn't take long for most of the crowd who welcomed Jesus on Sunday would later want Him crucified on what would be a Friday of the Passover Week that year.

The unbelieving Jews longed to be liberated from the yoke of Roman oppression. Jesus didn't speak a word against Caesar but against the Pharisees. The Pharisees were indeed bigger tyrants and a threat to the Jewish people than Caesar that time. They thought Jesus would come to liberate them from the Romans but He didn't. Instead, He taught them to love their enemies and pray for their persecutors. That wasn't a very welcome teaching especially that the Romans were pretty much idolatrous tyrants who ruled the land. They supported Jesus until they found out that He wasn't overthrowing the Romans.

I gave thought on why did the Jews choose Barabbas. My own personal opinion is that because Barabbas was guilty of crimes against Rome's occupation. Pontius Pilate finding no fault in Jesus means that they wouldn't want anyone who didn't go against the Romans. It's possible that Barabbas became the crowd's choice because they wanted to free a rebel against Rome rather than somebody who had no fault against Rome. They wanted to overthrow the Romans and they felt Jesus' innocence before Pilate was so much of a discouragement on their part.

What's also happening today is that we have people who are good as Palm Sunday converts. They think that following Jesus would magically solve all their problems. It's just like Judas Iscariot who spent 3 1/2 years with Jesus but never got saved at all. Judas Iscariot may have had personal agendas. Maybe he thought he would get rich and famous. Maybe he thought that Jesus would liberate them from the Romans. Maybe the Jews believed that the Messiah would be someone who would overthrow the Romans. Instead, Jesus did none of that and kept warning that following Him could even cost you your life and taught people to love their enemies and pray for their persecutors. That didn't sound like anything that the unbelieving Jews wanted.

This would also explain the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20 and Luke 8:1-15.) which explains three types of false converts. The first three soils were unrepentant. The rocky soil had no root. One developed roots but not enough depth. The other couldn't develop fruit because of worldliness. As long as people are unrepentant then the Gospel is of none effect compared to them who have been prepared as the good soil. The good soil is the humble, repentant heart. Most of the Jews were always having their hardness of hearts, their superficial hearing and their worldliness prevented them from getting saved. They had a worldly expectation of the Messiah which caused them to reject Him just a couple of days later after Palm Sunday.

This is a real lesson that just because many profess to know Christ that all of them are saved. Instead, time will tell who are truly saved and who isn't. True salvation may not be perfect but God's grace gives endurance even to the weakest. Peter may have denied Christ on the night of Jesus' arrest but God's grace made him one of the greatest pastors of the New Testament. Fortunately, not every Palm Sunday convert will remain as Palm Sunday converts. Instead, some of them will end up repenting. It reminded me that Peter's sermon in Acts 2 led unbelieving Jews to repentance towards life. He called the attention of the crowd who many of them were involved in the crucifixion of Jesus to repentance.

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