When I read the Gospel message from Matthew 21:33-46, it resonated with me the way God kept evil from having its way and arresting Jesus before it was God’s timing for them to do that. Verse 46 states:
“They looked for a way to arrest Him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that He was a prophet.”
Throughout the centuries the crowds have stood in the way of evil. It’s the crowds that hold back evil, and it is the willingness or incapability of the crowds that bring about evil regimes. In this case, God used the crowds to save the day. He could have made Jesus disappear from the crowds or sent a couple of angel bodyguards to prevent His arrest. God used the presence of the crowds to thwart Satan’s plan to arrest Jesus. Ironically, these same crowds were essential to carrying out God’s plan for Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. Pilate could resist the religious leaders; but when the crowds were insisting on crucifixion, he relented. It was the chief priests and the elders who persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabas’ release. When Pilate stood before the crowd exclaiming the truth that Jesus had committed no crime, it was the crowd who demanded His crucifixion. No longer the religious leaders, but the crowds
(Matthew 21:22—“’What shall I do then, with Jesus who is called Christ?’ Pilate asked. They all answered, ‘Crucify him!’”)
The crowds have the power to carry out God’s work. This thought has made me wonder about the global phenomena crowds are creating around the world. From Brexit, to the American Election, to the Catalonian Independence vote, crowds are popping up in unexpected places. What is driving them? It’s not just political crowds; the crowds are also responding to the earthquakes, hurricanes and massacres with compassion and Christlikeness, lending a hand as only a crowd can do. It truly takes a crowd. How is God using the crowds in our day? How are we participating in the crowd?
It’s easy to simply follow the crowd—the path of least resistance. It is important to think about what crowd you join. There seems to be a time to join a crowd. I want to be a part of crowds that are doing God’s work. I need His wisdom to do this. Whatever I do, whether in joining the crowd or avoiding it; I am doing God’s work. I want to stir up a crowd of people who are seeking only God’s purpose for their lives. I want to help the crowd focus their hearts, minds and souls on the love that God has for us. I long to see the crowds of this world finding their purpose, meaning and hope in their relationship with God. I hope that this weekly devotion is stirring up the crowds to love and serve God with their whole lives.
I want to join the crowd that is described as a “great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1). I want my life to draw crowds to know the love of God expressed through Jesus’ death on the cross. His death conquers sin and death for all who believe. Those who place their faith in Jesus become a crowd of witnesses to His love and compassion. We are part of the crowd who spreads His invitation to eternal life around the globe.
Now that is a crowd worth joining.