I have this theory about our hearts. I think our hearts tend to deceive us when it comes to our true intentions. When we try to examine the condition of our hearts, I don’t feel that we always get an accurate picture. I believe that our hearts try to convince us that our intentions and feelings are genuine and noble, but our hearts lie.
Mark 7:20-22 —20 He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.
Let me give you an example of what I mean. All four of the Gospelʼs record the last entry into Jerusalem by Jesus before he was crucified. Iʼm going to use Markʼs account for a reference point.
Mark 11:8-10 — 8Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” 10″Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”
“Hosanna in the highest!”
Now most of us recognize this event in the life of Jesus and have heard it read and referenced time and time again. But today Iʼd like to focus in on just what the people were saying as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Now most of us have heard the word hosanna so many times we couldnʼt even begin to count. We sing it in hymns, read it in the Bible, hear preachers say it and people pray using the word hosanna. But I think most of us wouldnʼt be able to give a very accurate definition of the word if asked.
Hosanna is a Hebrew word that literally means “save, we pray,” and throughout the course of time it became a term of praise as well as a prayerful statement of sorts. But when we put this understanding into the context of what was about to happen in the life of Jesus, we can definitely see a drastic change in the hearts and minds of these people in Jerusalem. Here we see the people shouting “Hosanna! Save, we pray!” Theyʼre acknowledging that Jesus was their savior! They are indicating that he has come to them in the name of the Lord! That he is part of the coming of the kingdom promised through the line of David! And in just a few days they would be persuaded by the Pharisees to cry out to Pilate to have Jesus crucified.
How could these people be so double minded? How could they praise Jesus as the savior and then trample him under foot the next moment? Well, maybe we should ask ourselves. After all, donʼt we basically do the same thing when we profess Jesus as Lord and Savior on Sundays, and live the rest of the week as though he were nobody?
We always have feelings, and most of the time those feelings are influenced by what happens around us. I am extremely happy or angry and sad when I watch the Dallas Cowboys play…it all depends on their play. My feelings are influenced by my surroundings. I think this is true in the case of the citizens of Jerusalem as Jesus entered. It’s easy to cheer when everyone around you is cheering. It’s easy to confess Christ when everyone around you is doing the same thing, but when you are all alone, or surrounded by non-believers, it becomes much more difficult…just ask Peter!
I think the true nature of our heart is exposed when we’re alone. When we’re not surrounded by the cheering crowds, or by the safety of our church family. It’s how we act when we’re alone…when we’re in the difficult situations, when we’re frustrated, upset, and stressed. What do our hearts say about us then?
Don’t judge the condition of your own heart when you’re in the middle of the cheering moments, but look at the lonely moments…when you find yourself in a similar situation to Peter. When everything is going wrong, when we’re scared and alone and we have to make a choice…at that moment can we still cry Hosanna?