— By PASTOR TOMMY POPHIN
I graduated from Baylor University in 1983. My mother worked as a cashier for Baylor from 1970 until 1995. She became the assistant head cashier and scholarship clerk many years before her retirement.
The reason I ever had the opportunity to be a part of this great Baptist university was because of the scholarship money available to me as a result of my mother’s hard work.
Because I grew up in Waco, I have seen many Baylor football games, both home and away. One thing I always noticed about Baylor Bears fans is that many times we are “fair weather fans.” Whenever Baylor was winning, the stands were full. But when Baylor was significantly behind, the stands would begin emptying out. As I recall, there were times when by the time the game was over, the stands would be empty.
This draws a picture of how we treat Jesus and how He was treated during the last days of His life and ministry here on Earth. We find in John 12:12-15, the account of Jesus entering Jerusalem. As he entered, people celebrated his coming into the city. Verse 13 states: “They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of the Jews!’”
As you might assume, the people were overjoyed that the Messiah had come. This was true for everyone except the religious leaders who stood in the background plotting how to rid themselves of this menace.
As Jesus spent the next four days in Jerusalem, many events took place as He took steps toward the cross. We know that Jesus had shared the Passover meal with His disciples. He explained His coming crucifixion through the bread and wine that were present during the supper. We know that Jesus went to a place called Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36) where he would spend time with His Father and struggle with the issue of the cross before him. As the prayer ended, He was arrested and would be abandoned by everyone He loved.
Jesus faced an unjust trial before the religious Sanhedrin and was brought before Pilate. And then Pilate, finding no fault in Jesus and warned to not shed the blood of this innocent one, asked the question, “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called, the Christ?” Sadly, the very crowd that shouted “Hosanna” at the beginning of the week began to hiss their desired verdict. “Crucify Him!”
Pilate asked, “Why? What crime has he committed?” and the crowd grew louder, shouting, “Crucify Him!” Pilate, feeling pressure to do what the crowd called for, finally allowed the sentence they requested to stand. “Crucify Him!” (Matthew 27:19-26)
There is so much here to deal with as you think about this last week Jesus went through as He faced the road to the cross. The focus that we are dealing with at the moment is that as you live on this side of the cross, are you as guilty of the same “Fair Weather” treatment of Jesus as those who were in Jerusalem that week? Do you shout your praises to Jesus when everyone else praises Him? And then, do you spew condemning hisses at Jesus when pressured by the crowd to join in? Where do we stand?
Hopefully, you stand with the One who told us, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10).
Have a blessed Easter Week and a joyous Resurrection Sunday!
Tommy Pophin is the pastor of Beulah Baptist Church. You are invited to join him and the congregation on Sunday mornings at 9:45 a.m. for Sunday School and 11 a.m. for worship. The church is located at 350 Beulah Lane at Fox Road in Millsap.