If it is true, as Barnes Tatum says, that, “We all make Jesus over in our own image,” then it we can become easily lost trying to follow a Messiah of our own making.

Mark 11:1-11 When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.


How can the same crowds shout Hosanna on Monday and crucify him on Friday?


Congregational Responses:

They were anticipating a Messiah contrary to Jesus.

Most people will only support you during the good times.

We’re all possible of the very best and the very worst.

They we’re worried that suffering might include them.

Didn’t want to be on the wrong side of Rome.


Rev. Will Willimon got a call in his university office from a furious mother. She angrily explained that her daughter was a pre-law undergrad, on track to clerk at the high court, attend Law school and come home to become partner at her Daddy’s firm.  That is until she started going to church on campus. First it was just Sunday worship, bible study and small group.  But now she’s decided to spend her Spring Break doing missionary work and is considering a call to ministry, a change in majors.  Rev. Willimon, I don’t know what you’re preaching up there, but your Jesus is destroying our family (paraphrased story).


How can the same crowds shout Hosanna on Monday and crucify him on Friday?


Because Jesus is the world’s greatest disappointment.


The Pharisees expected him to be a Legalist, forgoing unmerited grace for an earned partiality.  The young ruler expected him to open heaven to the rich, to skip sharing with the poor for hoarding with the privileged.  Peter expected him to save without suffering, to bypass the wooden cross for the golden crown.  The disciples expected him to declare who’s the greatest, to refuse donkey duty for assigned seating in paradise.  The crowds expected him to be a military general, to dismount from a lowly ass for a might stallion. And mother expected him to fast track daughter to law firm partner, to skip selfless service for a corporate career.


Disappointment literally means to “remove from office,” to experience the displeasure of unmet projections.  Jesus only rode into Jerusalem once, but he rides into our lives every Lent wondering if any of us will claim him for who he really is.


Jesus doesn’t need any more palm wavers on the parade route who cheer a myth of their own making.  But he does need his Church to step out into the street and join him in the funeral procession that leads to Calvary.


May we all deal with our disappointment, so that we can get on with our discipleship.