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.