Unexpected Praise

The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 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!” And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,

“Fear not, daughter of Zion;
behold, your king is coming,
sitting on a donkey's colt!” — John 12:12-15

When Jesus entered Jerusalem for the final time, the crowd greeted him like a hero. They praised and paraded him as the rightful King. However, they were motivated by the wrong reasons, and Jesus was well aware of it. Nevertheless, Jesus allowed them to praise him.

You see, the people here believed that Jesus was a king who would save them by military conquest, political maneuvering, and social justice. They had witnessed his miracles and assumed that he would now perform even greater ones from the epicenter of Jerusalem. Now, don't get me wrong, Jesus does care about politics, government, and social justice. But these things alone do not save people. They are not the ultimate solution to the problem at hand, and adjusting them does not address the core issue. What was needed was a divine solution from a King who can address the root problem of human sin and deliver salvation for humanity. Now that's a King deserving of praise, and that would be praise for the right reasons.

One thing I appreciate about Jesus is his patience with us. He accepts our praise even when we offer it for the wrong reasons. Because I think he knows that sometimes, as we continue to praise God, even with incorrect motivations, he leads us to a place of right understanding and authentic praise. At least, that's what he has done in my own life.

When I reflect on my spiritual journey, there were many instances when I praised God with misguided intent. I'm sure there were times when God looked down at me and rolled his eyes. Yet, he still welcomed me to praise. Not because he wanted me to offer misguided praise but because a man who continues to worship the King may eventually grow and mature in their praise and praise him for the right reasons. This is because true praise surpasses natural requests and expectations and honors the Savior and King for bringing salvation.

So praise him today for that reason alone.


1. Reflect on your own motivations for praising God. Are there times when you find yourself offering praise for the wrong reasons, such as seeking personal gain or expecting God to conform to your own desires? How can you align your praise with a genuine understanding of who God is and what He deserves?

2. Consider the patience and grace of Jesus as He accepts praise from the crowd, despite their misguided motivations. How does this example of Jesus challenge you to extend patience and grace to others, even when their intentions may be flawed? How can you cultivate a heart of genuine praise and encourage others to do the same?

DO THIS: Praise Him for salvation and no other reason.

PRAY THIS: God, I humbly ask for the wisdom to align my motivations in praise with a genuine understanding of who You are and to extend patience and grace to others as You have shown to me. May my heart overflow with authentic praise for You, the King who offers salvation for all. Amen.

PLAY THIS: God Of Salvation (I Still Believe).

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Read through the Bible daily with Vince Miller.

8 thoughts on “Unexpected Praise

  1. gonzalo correa says:

    Thank you brother Vince for pointing this to us. A lot of us know and some don’t but that is not the point praising Him for the correct reason.

    One thought is that we are not presented with the best image of God from the top and unfortunately a lot of men don’t have the discipline to go to the Word and seek out truth understanding. At my small group I went through a study of the nature of Jesus (God Son) and nature of God ( Father) that myself and those attending my small group may have better understanding of God and we may praise Him better for the better reasons from this side of Heaven.

    Thank you Lord Jesus that in Heaven we will fully know You and praise you correctly.

  2. Brady Ellis says:

    I’ve realized as well, as I’ve grown in Christ, I pray with a heart of appreciation more rather than a heart of need. Granted, I still have my laundry list of request of God, but praying in reverence and with a pursuit of love from an All in standpoint has changed my prayer life. Thank you for your words today and your devotion to making me part of your prayers!

  3. Eddie Ackerman says:

    God, forgive me for my wrong praise in the past, and, probably, my wrong praise in the future. This side of heaven I will never be perfect, so thank You God for Your patience, love, forgiveness, and the people you have placed in my life as beacons back to You when I am adrift in a sea of bad choices, sins, self-pity, and condemnation. Thank You for the releasing the burden of condemnation for as it is written, (in Romans 8:1-2) “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” I always praise God when I see His wonderful hand at work in my life or in the life of others, but I need to remember as it is also written, by the brother of Jesus, (in James 1:2-4) “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Another translation of the same verses starts out by saying COUNT it all as joy, so we need to count the things that are negative until we make our way back around to the positive. The best example of that is the ENTIRE reason we CAN be positive, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 12:2 “For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God.” Death on a tree was considered to be one of the most shameful ways to die, but for the joy of filling up heaven and depopulating hell, Jesus endured the cross, even though He was the only person who had the power to prevent His death up there between two criminals, taking the place of a third criminal, the literal substitutionary sacrifice. Thank You God for all that You do for me and all Your children who believe in You and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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