Matthew 21:1–11 ‘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!”’(v9)

Gustav Mahler, the composer, said, ‘The point is not to take the world’s opinion as a guiding star but to go one’s way in life and working unerringly, neither depressed by failure nor seduced by applause’.* Here Jesus, entering Jerusalem, is greeted with the applause of a rapturous crowd. Applause suggests acceptance and success, yet is only ever momentary. We are aware of the phrase, ‘You’re only as good as your last performance’, a phrase that would have struck a chord with Mahler.

The danger is that we move away from our true course in life and go in search of further applause. Affirmation is lovely, but is never the purpose of anybody’s life. Our love affair with celebrity culture is a distraction at best, an addiction at worst. Today’s idol becomes tomorrow’s villain, built up only to be brutally brought down. Jesus had a difficult path to tread. Entering Jerusalem as a reputed teacher and prophet, He enjoyed a surge in His popularity ratings in the hope that He was the Messiah.

Yet, views varied on what a Messiah was for, from the rescuer from foreign armies of occupation to leader of an esoteric sect. He needed to keep His purpose in mind. This would divide opinion and lead to His death. Within days, He moved from hero to zero – yet one more anonymous criminal, unceremoniously executed on the city’s rubbish dump. As we journey towards Easter this year, is it time to ask ourselves how focused are we on our purpose in life or simply distracted by our search for applause?

Scripture to consider: Psa. 118:22–29; Isa. 55:8–13; 56:4–8; Matt. 6:1–8.

An action to take: Join on an adventure to find your purpose in God as a family.

A prayer to make: ‘Lord, set my eyes on the prize of eternity so that I might walk every day with Jesus. Amen.

Photo by Max LaRochelle on Unsplash

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.