Q: During Lent, I've been reading in the Bible about the last weeks of Jesus' life, and I've been puzzled by something. Why did the crowds turn against Jesus so quickly? One week they welcomed Him, and the next week they demanded He be crucified. — Mrs. M.F.
A: First, let me commend you for taking time during the weeks leading up to Easter to read from the Bible about Jesus' final days. No events in human history were more important than Jesus' death and resurrection, and yet many people (even Christians) never take time to study them.
Tomorrow, Christians around the world will celebrate Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem (which we usually call "Palm Sunday," because the crowd welcomed Him by spreading palm branches in His path). Those who greeted Him were convinced He was the Messiah (or "anointed one"), sent by God to establish His Kingdom on earth. The Bible says they shouted, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" (Matthew 21:9).
But not everyone in Jerusalem welcomed Him; the very next verse says that "the whole city was stirred and asked, 'Who is this?'" In other words, those who welcomed Him were His disciples — but large numbers of people were still debating who He was. Some of them (but not His disciples) later demanded His death.
Where would you have been on that first Palm Sunday? Among the disciples who welcomed Him — or among the skeptical crowds? You cannot remain neutral about Jesus. He came for one reason: "Christ died for sins once for all ... to bring you to God" (1 Peter 3:18). Make your decision for Christ today.
This article was originally published on Saturday, March 15, 2008.
Affectionately known as the "World's Preacher" for more than 60 years, the Rev. Billy Graham is one of the most influential and respected spiritual leaders of the 20th century. He has been a friend and spiritual advisor to ten American presidents and has preached the Gospel to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history — nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories — through various meetings. Hundreds of millions more have been reached through television, video, film, and webcasts. Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit the Web site for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: www.billygraham.org.