The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” (Matthew 21:9)
There’s a reason why people enjoy pleasing the crowd: it opens the door to acceptance. As people, we’re acceptance magnets. Our hearts gravitate to environments of acceptance, and they’re repelled by environments of non-acceptance. I would much rather be somewhere that I’m loved and praised than somewhere that people ridicule and mock. Perhaps that’s why so many people live for the crowd. It’s simply easier to fit in and be accepted than to stand out and be rejected.
One of the remarkable things about Jesus was that he didn’t really care what the crowd thought. In fact, he had a full understanding that this crowd that lauded him as a king would later crucify him as a criminal. As soon as they realized that he wasn’t exactly whom they thought he was, they shoved him aside for the next best thing to come along.
Jesus’ confidence wasn’t in what the crowd thought, and ours shouldn’t be, either.
The crowd simply baits us to be what they want us to be, and when they’re done with us, they kick us to the curb. Knowing that the same people who praise us may later crucify us, wouldn’t it be better to ignore their siren calls and simply seek to honor God instead? When we live to please Him, there will be many who don’t understand and who criticize and persecute. But those same people would eventually do the same under other sets of circumstances, too.
Living to please the crowd only leads to disappointment. Don’t buy into the lie that the acceptance of the crowd is worth the sacrifices of conscience, character, and commitment to the Lord.
Father, there is no one worth living to please aside from You. Please help me to live with that understanding, and take away the enticement of trying to please the people around me.