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Jesus From Palms To Thorns: Be Who They Want, Or Else

Have you ever disappointed anyone? Has anyone ever disappointed you? If you reply no to either or both, there really isn’t much need to read past this point.

If you’re sticking with me on this, then thanks! One thing that does hold true is that everyone drops the ball at one time or another. No one is perfect. We’re human, and that makes us far from perfection.

Unfortunately, what we can perfectly depend on is that as long as we mold ourselves to fit into what someone else wants at that moment, we can count on them to be happy with who we are for them.

Herein lies the problem.

What They Wanted

On the day people thought Jesus was who they wanted Him to be, they rejoiced at His arrival. They shared amongst each other that He was, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.” (Matthew 21:11.) They lined the streets and laid palm branches across His path.

What an incredible day that must have been for everyone. Except He knew what they didn’t. They thought Jesus was going to become an earthly ruler, kick some butts and free them from Rome’s bondage.

Yeah for Jesus! Take that Rome!

8 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:

“Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Hosanna in the highest!”

10 And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?”

11 So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”

Matthew 21:8-11 (NKJV)

We Ride The Donkey

How often has this happened to you? Maybe you get a promotion and the staff expects a certain “fun boss”behavior from you. How about when you’re a new husband, dad or friend? It’s only natural to meet someone else’s expectations because that’s what they want from you, right?

After all, they’ve laid a path before you, so all you have to do is follow along. But, if your intentions are to move toward a different direction, does that make you wrong, or just an innovator, individual or maverick?

Surely Jesus knew what was best for them. He didn’t come for self-promotion, or to gain millions of social media followers while promoting merchandize on his custom website’s URL. Jesus came for them (us,) so what went wrong?

Image credit: Oliver Sjöström, Instagram: @ollivves

What They Needed

The reality is, Jesus didn’t come to be what they wanted, He came as what they needed. They needed a savior, not a romping stomping, earthly ruler. They needed saving from themselves more than from Rome. So, what happened when the adoring worshippers with palm leaves discovered that their wants were different than their needs?

22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.

They all answered, “Crucify him!

23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.

But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!

Matthew 27:22-23

Sound Familiar?

You follow your faith, and refuse to be “cool guy” at work so you’re ostracized, or maybe your daughter has stopped speaking to you because you refuse to allow her boyfriend to hang out in her bedroom.

I know you can rattle off an endless list of situations where what other people wanted wasn’t what they needed, and led to you being socially, professionally or privately crucified. This is the time of truth.

I don’t have some rally around warrior speech for you, but I do have an encouraging example from the most alpha-male to have walked this earth. Jesus had so many opportunities to renounce His ministry’s gospel message to save Himself. Actually, at the micro-moment of a fleeting thought, Jesus could’ve summoned an endless army of holy hosts to wipe the floor with everyone who opposed Him.

Finding Your Why

It’s a simple question, but one that opens your reality to endless possibility. What is your why? Stumbling through life from circumstance to happenstance is how too many of us men fumble through life. Without purpose or intention, we become victims of everyone’s whim while trying to avoid the thorns and wondering what happened to the palms.

Jesus’ why was simple.

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

John 3:16-17 (NKJV)

Mission Statement

Have you ever tried writing a mission statement for your own life? You might be surprised to discover who you actually are may be extremely different from who you think you are. Taking an honest look at your life is a great way for making sure to stand your ground when the crowds yank up the palm leaves from beneath you.

Writing out your mission statement should support your why, or help you to identify it. Either way, it’s the perfect time to privately assess where you are in life. Most of us think we’re parading triumphantly through it, while in reality we are a nail’s tip away from being crucified by it.

Placing Faith

So back to the reality of people being interesting. Yes, they are, but a key to being so is understanding that no matter how great a person is, they cannot ever be Christ. The same goes for you. You might be the ultimate people pleaser, but despite your best, most Herculean efforts, you are not and will not be Christ.

I know it sounds weird to read, and even more odd to have to write, but the reality is people have an innate desire to know their Creator. If they don’t know God, they seek substitutes such as another person, drugs alcohol, money, fame, or anything that placates them with moments of relief from the pain or loneliness they carry.

Placing your faith where faith belongs prevents you from seeking perfect love in imperfect places. It also prevents you from standing along a parade route with palm leaves on one day, and then taunting for crucifixion a few days later.

Who To Be?

That’s an easy question – be you.

But, it oddly enough becomes not so easy. So, we know that we’re to be Christ-like, but exactly what does that mean?  I’m a roadmap kind of guy. I prefer an operations plan so I know ahead of time what is expected. Although, I’ll stick to the plan until I decide not to. This is likely your story too.

So it’s dangerous for others to paint a straight line for us to walk with an unrealistic expectation that we walk their line. Isn’t this what we just talked about as it related to Jesus atop the palms? I rely on one verse as my man-map because it was spoken to us men, and honestly sums up everything about being a Godly alpha male.

13 Be on the alert! Stand firm in the faith! Be men of courage! Be strong! 14 Let all that you do be done in love.

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (TLV)

Give it a shot, and while you’re at it, watch out for those who line your path with palms in one hand and thorns in the other. Keeping our eyes on the cross of Christ allows us to remain on His path, not their’s.

What Do You Think?

What are your thoughts about palms and thorns?

Do you think the people really turned on Jesus when they saw he wasn’t what they wanted ?

Does today’s culture present more risk to Christians than that of Jesus’ time on earth?

What’s the difference between being what they want and what they need?

Any other thoughts about this?

Your Mission Assignment

Thanks for connecting with me here at The Bro Code. There are so many brothers struggling to connect, or to make their voices heard. We men are stronger together.

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Much Love & Respect,

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