March 2024 Newsletter

From Pastor Matt Nelson

Hosanna! Hosanna! Crucify him! Crucify him!

The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting, Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9, NASB95)

Pilate said to them, Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, Crucify Him!” And he said, Why, what evil has He done?” But they kept shouting all the more, saying, Crucify Him!” (Matthew 27:22–23, NASB95)

It is shocking to think of how quickly things can change. The once popular teacher who taught with authority was now rejected as if he was a fool. The one who had healed their diseases was now treated like a disease. The one who had filled their growling bellies with good food now turned their stomachs. The innocent one whom they had wanted for their king they now exchanged for a murderer.

Many had been intrigued by Jesus. It was exciting to see the show of miracles. Who wouldn’t want to be healed or fed for free? But some of Jesus message was hard to hear. And it was getting harder. Some of it was really convicting, too.

“He told me I have to change. He pointed out my sin. It hurt.

And ‘take up your cross and follow me’? No thank you!”

As Jesus got closer and closer to the Cross, the crowds thinned. His opponents increased in volume and number.

“We want a better king! We want a different savior! “

“I want one who rides on a white stallion instead of a donkey.”

“And one who will get rid of those Romans! “

“Well, I want one who will tell me it’s okay to keep living like I am.”

“I want one who will give me more stuff, not tell me to give it up!”

“Crucify him! Crucify him!”

For those who worshiped the idol of themselves, this Savior wasn’t the one they wanted. They had another god they wanted to worship, the god “me.” Jesus knew quite well that they were believing the same old lies that the Devil had been selling for ages.

Jesus said to them, If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.” (John 8:42–47, NASB95)

Even great St. Peter tried to turn Jesus away from the cross (Matthew 16:21-23), to fight off the soldiers who came to arrest Jesus, and then denied his own teacher three times when the pressure was on. In the end, only a few stood with Jesus to the end of his life.

But Jesus proved all the doubters wrong three days later. He showed that though the way of the cross is full of trials, rejections, and frights, he will lead us through them to life, safety, and glorious blessings (Psalm 23).

In the end we will all see, there is truly only one God and Savior. It is the same one that was despised and rejected. He is our one true hope.

As you contemplate Jesus’ journey to the Cross and his resurrection on the third day, I pray that you will not turn away from him when things become convicting, hard, or scary. Earthly pleasures are fleeting. Your body one day will turn to dust. Kingdoms and kings of this earth will fall. The Devil’s temptations will all prove to be folly.

Stay with Jesus, our once humbled King. He who once was rejected has now been glorified!

“Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest!”


View the March 2024 Newsletter here.