This is an excerpt from a talk I gave here at Carnmoney Church to help reflect on the scene change from Palm Sunday to Good Friday…

A newspaper report in October 2020 suggested that Jurgen Klopp was the greatest Liverpool manager in a generation. It was the crest of a wave and things were so promising. But another report in the same newspaper less than 6 months later suggested Klopp’s job was under threat. That’s a pretty dramatic turnaround, but it’s hardly surprising because a crowd of fans can often be fickle.

I think back to being challenged about the direction of my life in the final session of a youth weekend when I was a teenager. I was determined to start living in a way that better honoured Jesus, even writing down a list of sins on a sheet of paper and nailed them to a little cross at the front. Things would be different now. My faith looked promising. Within two hours of getting home I was yelling at my parents because I didn’t want to help out with the dishes. Sometimes we can be fickle too!

I also remember attending a conference for Christian leaders almost a decade ago. I was captivated by the message shared from the stage by an incredibly dynamic speaker. With energy and passion, he encouraged us to embrace the full mountain range of the story of God. “It goes to great heights,” he told us, “because the gospel is an epic story.” Through his presentation, that speaker helped me to become more aware of God’s grace and I left that day more in awe of Jesus’s love. That speaker, however, is no longer following Jesus.

But we shouldn’t be shocked, because Christian leaders can be fickle too, and very sadly even those who speak loudly about Jesus can walk away from him. Promise can turn sour.

The events of Palm Sunday look so promising for Jesus and his followers. A crowd had gathered. They were waving branches in celebration, laying robes on the road before him and singing his name in adulation, describing him as king. On the outside it seems like such a positive story, yet we know it is just an early scene in a story full of dramatic twists and turns yet to come, as the crowds go from hailing Jesus as King one weekend to demanding his death the next weekend.

The sudden change from the cheering praise of Palm Sunday to the shouts of crucify him on Good Friday is yet another reminder of how a crowd can be changeable and fickle. We should be wary of taking our lead from the demands of a crowd. We need to be careful who we listen to in these days, who we rely on for truth and who we allow to influence us. Thankfully, in the midst of constant news cycles and social media bombardment we can trust completely in the reliability of God’s Word. In the uncertainties of tomorrow, rest in that today.

We may appreciate Jesus, admire Jesus and admit to believing in Jesus, but are we also willing to keep following him in doubt, disappointment and darkness? Even when prayers haven’t been answered the way we would like. Even when he calls us to remove some of our sinful attitudes or desires. Even when our faith brings with it criticism or hostility. Will we continue following then? Fickle fans flee but faithful followers stand firm.

Jesus knows full well what you are riding into in your life. He knows the hurt, the loneliness, the grief, the betrayal, the anger, the doubt, the despair, the exhaustion, the weariness, and the constant struggle. He knows all the madness. Your King lives and will triumph over every last bit of it. Trust him today.