What Jesus Did Not Die To Do

palm branchHow did the Palm Sunday crowds sing Jesus’ praises just five days before they called for His death? How are multitudes so fickle? How do individuals change their minds so quickly? What did Jesus do to frustrate them to the point of murder?

We had the opportunity to visit my brother’s church yesterday and hear him play drums. His pastor addressed this question, and his answer will not let me go.

The people were looking for a Savior to give them what they wanted; Jesus came to give them what they needed.

Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a humble donkey, His entrance set against the soundtrack of their praises, their cries, “Hosanna!” They greeted Him as their King and laid their clothes down before Him. (See John 12:12-15.)

As they should. He was, in fact, their King.

But Jesus was not the kind of king the people wanted. “Save us!” they cried, begging Him to bring God’s wrath against Rome.

“Save them” He would, but Rome was not the true enemy. Political oppression was not the worst of their afflictions. The heavy hand of Rome was not the burden Jesus came to bear.

Yes, the people cried, “Save us!” and Jesus gave the salvation they needed, but it looked nothing like the salvation they wanted.

Rather than mounting a steed,
rallying the masses,
and overthrowing Rome,
Jesus was mounted on a cross,
killed in place of the masses,
and overthrew sin, death, and the grave.

The wrath of God would be brought on Jesus, not because Rome was undeserving, but because the wrath was coming for all the people, everywhere. Sin, the true enemy, was paid for, vanquished. Spiritual oppression was abolished for those who believed, and the heavy hand of the Law lifted from all who were covered by the blood.

He came to rescue us from death. He came to right our wrong hearts, deliver them from death to life.

And yet we still whine fickle when He denies us what we want. We sing gratitude for the cross, but then we demand He give us more, never taking to heart how the cross shows His perfect provision over our imperfect desires.

We think we need the boyfriend or the college of our dreams, but He says, “Here, have Me.” We think we need the new house or the baby to be happy, but He says, “Here, rejoice in Me.” We demand He give us the best grades, the perfect job, the date to prom, but He lovingly says, “Not if you think you need these more than Me.”

Friday is coming, Beloved. Our God has put on flesh and poured out blood for us. He has given His life to give us the best, to give us Himself.

And on The Day He returns, our hearts will finally want all the right things. Until then can we trust Him to give us what we do not know we ought to want? Can we praise Him for His unwavering devotion to our salvation?

Jesus did not come to be crowd favorite, but to be crucified and forsaken on behalf of the crowd. He did not come to give us what we want, but He came to give us what we really need, Himself.

He did not die to indulge our desires
but to give life to dead hearts
so we might desire rightly.

This week we cry, “Hosanna! Save, I pray!” We see the depth of our need and the deeper well of His provision. We look forward to the cross, beyond to the empty tomb, and we ask our Savior to redeem our hearts’ desires every single day.

The cross is the proof that our God is determined to work for our good despite our inability to recognize our need. Let’s give glory as we trust Him this week.

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Would you share?

  • Have you been fasting from anything during this season of Lent? If so, how have these 40 days exposed your heart’s dependence on things that are not Jesus?
  • Can you think of a time you were frustrated with God for not giving you what you wanted? Has hindsight proven Him trustworthy? Would you share your story in the comments to encourage your sisters in Christ to hold on to Jesus?

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