The Roar of the Crowd
The roar of the crowd is astounding. Jesus was not exempt.
From the shouts of “Hosanna!” to the thunder of “Crucify him!” Jesus stood before both praise and scorn – and His response was the same: I do the will of my Father (John 12:48 & 50).
Interrogations. Temptations. Accolades. Adorations. Servants. Rulers. Weak. Powerful. Famous. Infamous. No-Names. Detestable. Jesus stood before them all.
Yet, Jesus held on to what we often forget:
“The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but a man is tested by his praise” (Proverbs 27:21).
We can so easily forget that God has called us to be His, not to be Him. We cannot be God. Yet, our pride drives us to try.
It is worth noting that the purpose of the crucible and the furnace is for the purging of impurities. Silver and gold are not pure until they have endured the processes by which impurities are leached out, and nothing remains except that which is real.
In the same way, our self-righteousness is the dross which rises when exposed to man’s praise.
We can desire the applause of the masses to such an extent that we forget that even when doing good, we can be completely wrong.
In order to truly obey the Lord in the way He desires, the Lord’s glory must be our only goal. Obedience isn’t just doing what is right. It is to do the will of the Lord FOR the Lord’s glory, taking none as our own. It isn’t the act itself that makes the service pure – it is the heart that loves the Lord fully and completely.
Jesus showed sympathy to sinners; but He burned with anger against those who used His Name to amass their own praise. He did not mince words with the religious horde in His day:
Robbers. White-washed tombs. Brood of vipers. Blind. Serpents. Fools.
He’s not wrong.
The hypocritical religious leaders were indeed robbers, not only of their fellow men, but robbers of the glory of God. They were using their religiosity to elevate themselves, to separate themselves for their own importance and self-gratification. The condemnation of their self-righteousness could not be heard over the din of adoring crowds.
I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I share with no other. Isaiah 42:8
“No other” means no one. There’s no other way to translate that phrase. God will not share His glory with anyone…not even us – no matter how “good” our acts appear to be. We may be able to fool those who witness our righteous works into thinking that we are pure-hearted – but we cannot hide from the Lord, whose eyes “run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
God is not looking for good works. He’s searching for pure hearts.
Could it be that Jesus took God’s glory seriously, and that’s why the roars of the crowd did not deter Him from true obedience? Could the glorification of His Father have been Jesus’ only goal? He did not translate “Hosanna” into “I’ve arrived!” Nor did He deduce that the shouts of “Crucify him!” meant that He had missed the will of God. He trusted His Father and continued in God’s will.
The roars of the crowds simply became background noise.
Our ears, too, must be dulled to the roars of the crowd – no matter what they are shouting. We desperately need a calibration of our spiritual desires so that we turn, full circle, from the pursuit of our own praise. This world is getting darker as it spirals through God’s destined course, and there are people who need to see Jesus. Not us. In our souls, we all know the truth anyway: we are only dust.
“If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto Me.” John 12:32
“He must increase. I must decrease.” John 3:30