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The Crowd

Briefing: Crowd control means different things to different agencies. In smaller agencies, it could be local parades, school sporting events, or local political meetings. In larger agencies, it could be professional or collegiate sporting events, concerts, or any number of entertainment venues.

Dispatch (Assignment): Read Matthew 21:1-11. Think about who makes up this crowd.

On the Street: The crowd is fickle. Have you ever heard of the mob mentality? It’s now called “herd behavior” because someone thought that “mob” had too negative of a meaning. We will see, as we get closer to the end of Matthew, a crowd that is easily influenced by the actions of a few. Here we see the disciples start laying their cloaks on the donkey for a seat for Jesus. The crowd soon follows suit and begins to lay their cloaks and freshly cut branches on the path that Jesus is traveling. The next thing you know everyone is yelling and shouting His praises. This crowd quickly gets worked up into a frenzy.

I wonder what the Roman soldiers, who were in the city to keep the crowds from rioting, thought. Do you wonder if they remembered Him three days later when they were beating and crucifying Him? Did any of them say, “Hey, this is the guy that the crowds were praising just three days ago”? There is no way that this event could have escaped their attention. Extra soldiers were brought to Jerusalem just for the Passover celebration because of the number of Jews that would be making the pilgrimage to the capital city.

Highlights from this Read: In verse 3, I have to wonder if the owner of the donkey had already been told, by word of mouth or by dream, that Jesus was coming. Could he have been a friend of Jesus, a follower? Maybe it was someone that Jesus had healed or had shown compassion. Verse 4 is a fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9. This was important because Matthew was proving Jesus’ authenticity through fulfillment of the Old Testament scripture.

In verse 5, Jesus predicts the events that will happen in the immediate future. How cool would it have been to hear Him tell you this, then to see it happen!

In verse 9, when the people shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David”, every Jew would have understood this to mean that their king had arrived.

The timeline of the events in verse 10 was Passover week. There would have been Jews from all over the Middle East, Asia, Egypt and Africa. Historians say that there would have been anywhere from 100,000 to 250,000 visitors in the city during this week. Talk about crowd control!

Verse 11 is a sad statement by the crowd. They missed Jesus for who He really was. The identified Him as a prophet. This is the same crowd that just hailed Him as king “Son of David”. They saw Him as king and prophet but missed Him as the promised Messiah or Christ.

Investigational Resources: Zechariah 14:4-9, Matthew 16:14 (Jesus being identified as a prophet), Matthew 2:23 (prophet from Galilee). Also see Mark 11:1-10, Luke 19:29-38 and John 12:12-15.

Officer Safety Principle: Don’t follow the crowd. Make your decision before the crowd has a chance to influence you. Do you recognize Jesus as an earthly king, a prophet of God, or do you see Him for the Savior that He is?

from The Gospel of Matthew Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
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