Saturday, April 11, 2020

I Am Not a Fan of Jesus

The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

- Matthew 21:9

Over the past several months, my wife Christine and I have really enjoyed watching L.A. Lakers games. Christine has been a big Lakers fan since she was a kid, and she got me hooked early in our marriage. Now, this year the Lakers have been having a fantastic season. They acquired LeBron James two years ago and added Anthony Davis to their starting lineup last summer. Together LeBron and A.D. have led their team to first place in the Western Conference. The Lakers are having one of their best seasons in 20 years.

But I have a confession to make: I didn’t watch nearly as many Lakers games last season or the season before that. And it wasn’t because I was busier than I’ve been this year. It’s because over the past few seasons, the Lakers stunk. Yes, I am a fair-weather Lakers fan. When they’re playing well, I jump on the bandwagon and cheer them on. But when they’re stinking it up, I pretend I don’t know them. To diehard Lakers fans, that makes me a bit of an embarrassment. I’m not a loyal fan through good times and bad. But when all is said and done, I can live with being a fair-weather fan. Because, after all, it’s just basketball. But when it comes to the most important thing in life—following Jesus Christ—I never want to be a fair-weather fan. And I hope you don’t either.

On the first Palm Sunday, almost 2,000 years ago, Jesus was greeted by thousands of fair-weather fans as he entered Jerusalem riding a donkey colt. The enthusiastic crowd lined the streets of Jerusalem, placing cloaks and palm branches on the ground in front of Jesus. And according to Matthew 21:9 they shouted: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

Now, there is a whole lot of meaning packed into this one word: “Hosanna.” Hosanna means “Save us now.” Or to say it a different way, “God save us!” Some of the people in the crowd that day were probably in terrible health and wanted Jesus to heal them as he’d healed so many others. Some were probably out of work and in debt up to their eyeballs, and they wanted Jesus to get them back on their feet. And certainly many Jews in the crowd were sick and tired of Israel being under Roman occupation. They longed for the coming king of the Jews to be a military leader who would mobilize a Jewish army to drive Rome out of Israel once and for all.

There were likely many reasons why people shouted “Hosanna!” on that first Palm Sunday. But I think it’s safe to say that most of those reasons were selfish. People were excited to see Jesus enter Jerusalem because, on that day, he was wildly popular. They were getting to lay their eyes on a celebrity. And they were hopeful that Jesus would do something for them. Well, five days later Jesus would do something for every one of them. But it wouldn’t be the thing that they most wanted. Instead, it would be the thing that they most needed. You see, Jesus didn’t ride his little donkey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to heal diseases or provide a financial bailout or kick out the Romans. Jesus rode his little donkey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday because he had his eyes fixed on the cross. He had come that day to save the world from sin and death.

Sadly, the fair-weather fans of Jesus would end up saying, “Thanks, but no thanks! If you’re not going to give me what I want, I’ll just pick up my palm branch and go home.” By the time Friday rolled around, Jesus was arrested, flogged, had a crown of thorns shoved on his head, and was nailed to a cross. It was just five days after Palm Sunday, but the cheering crowds were nowhere in sight … just a few dedicated women and one apostle a short distance from the cross.

I wonder—had I been there in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago, would I have been one of the few loyal followers of Jesus there at Calvary? Or would I have kept my distance and kept my mouth shut, along with all of Jesus’ other fair-weather fans? How about you? Are you a fair-weather fan of Jesus?

To be honest, there are times when it’s easy to cheer for Jesus and stick by his side. But at other times, it’s really, really hard. It’s hard to cheer for Jesus when He doesn’t seem to answer your prayers and your life seems to be falling apart. It’s hard to cheer for him when your health is failing, when you lose your job, or when your bills are piling up. It’s easy to cheer for Jesus and take selfies with him on Palm Sunday … but it’s not so easy to do the same the rest of the week. Jesus isn’t looking for fans who wave the palm branches on Sunday but take a hike on Monday. Jesus is seeking truly loyal followers who trust him and love him and obey his commands every day.

So, here we are, in the midst of one of the most challenging times in the life of our nation. During this Covid pandemic, it’s not easy for some of us to trust Jesus. Will you trust him anyway? It’s not easy for some of us to love Jesus during this time. Will you love Him anyway? And it’s not easy for some of us to obey His commands during this crazy season. Will you obey His commands anyway? If your answer to each of these questions is “Yes,” I can guarantee you that you won’t regret it. I hope you , can join me today in saying: “When it comes to Jesus, I am not a fan! I choose to be a loyal follower. And nothing that goes on in this world around me will change that.”

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our online worship service Sunday at 10 a.m. at or on our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook.

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