Easter 2024 - Day 2: Emotions and Honesty

So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel” John 12:13

The account of celebration surrounding Jesus' entry into Jerusalem is found in all four gospels. What are we to learn from it?

First let us note that emotional hype is contagious. John tells us that crowds from Jerusalem came out to meet Him while Matthew and Mark speak of crowds who followed from Galilee and accumulated as they went. As the crowd increased so did their celebration. Given their quick turnabout by the end of the week, we can safely conclude that many of the people who are now celebrating have no genuine love for Jesus. Crowds and majorities present a challenge to honest human emotions. One woman told me that she didn’t care much for watching football until she went to a Nebraska game at Memorial Stadium. She said the “mood was irresistible”. You see the point? She didn’t love football or even Nebraska football, she loved the atmosphere of the stadium - the excitement. I remember back in the 1990s hearing a pastor preach of his concerns about Promise Keepers events. He articulated well the fact that when thousands of men are yelling, "I love Jesus, yes I do, I love Jesus how about you?", the truth is, you may not know whether you love Him or not until you get home and alone. Jesus was forever thinning out the crowd that followed Him (Jn 6:66/Mt 19:22). He knew many people follow Him for the wrong reasons, including the flurry of emotional excitement. Emotional hype is contagious.

A second lesson is this; since emotional hype is contagious, it is also dangerous. Many people attend church and because it is church, they assume the feeling they get there is the Holy Spirit. While certain ministries of the Holy Spirit may involve feelings, such as conviction of sin, comfort, and empowerment, Scripture does not instruct us to base our relationship with the Holy Spirit on how or what we feel. Every born-again believer has the indwelling Holy Spirit, but a feeling of excitement or celebration is not necessarily the Holy Spirit. Stadiums full of people at football games have exactly the same feeling of excitement that some in church use as a measure the presence of the Holy Spirit.

The question we need to work out with fear and trembling is this; am I genuinely celebrating Jesus Christ, His death, burial and resurrection for my sake, or am I celebrating the feeling of a crowd, good music/preaching and of crowd-excitement? The first is Spirit and the latter is flesh (Phil 2:12/Jn 4:23/Ga 5:17).

As you begin your week of preparation leading to Resurrection Sunday, take some time now to repent of any desires of the flesh, especially those that you have confused with the Holy Spirit. Begin focusing your attention on Jesus Christ, His death, burial and resurrection for you.
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