Sunday or Friday?
by Dr. Ken Matto
Palm Sunday to the believing Christian is a fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9:
(Zec 9:9 KJV) Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
This was the day the Lord Jesus Christ rode into Jerusalem welcomed by hundreds of people who threw palm branches along the path where He was riding. It seemed to many that finally He was going to take His place as the leader of the nation of Israel but instead of going to speak with the people on some platform, He instantly went into the temple and cast out the money changers and began to preach on the subject of the cleansing of the temple. (Matthew 21:1-13) This is obviously what is in view because when the Lord will go to the cross in 5 days, He will cleanse the temple. He will not be cleansing the physical temple but He will be cleansing the temple of the body of believers. He will be purging them of all their sin thus making the temple pure.
(1 Cor 3:16 KJV) Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
In just five short days, the crowds went from Hallelujah to crucify Him. I am sure many in that crowd were disappointed that Jesus was not going to be a leader like Joshua who was going to throw off the yoke of Rome. This was one of the largest Passovers ever celebrated in Jerusalem. In fact according to the historian Josephus there was as much as 260,000 individual Passover suppers which meant the crowd in Jerusalem at the time of the crucifixion of Christ could have been in the hundreds of thousands. With this little bit of historical information we can understand better why Pontius Pilate followed the crowd and crucified Jesus. Of course, no matter what the events were, it was God’s established plan that Christ go to the cross to pay for the sins of the elect. I do not want to focus in on the events of Friday but what I want to focus in on is the difference between the Sunday crowd and the Friday crowd.
What people liked about Jesus - The Sunday crowd
Kindness - The Woman caught in adultery - John 7:53-8:11
Jesus showed much kindness and compassion toward this woman who was taken in adultery. Obviously this was an attempted set up because the man was not brought into the middle of the crowd to receive his penalty for partaking in adultery. Yet, when Jesus dispersed the crowd by making each individual aware of their sinful nature, the woman was no doubt relieved by this act of compassion. I am sure she told all she came in contact with what had happened and the kindness that was shown toward her. Here she was brought before the Judge of all the earth caught right in the middle of her sin and was shown kindness instead of railing judgment. Jesus was appreciated for His kindness.
Benevolence - Feeding of the 5,000 - Matthew 14:16-21
Here was one of the most visible miracles that Jesus performed. He had compassion on them when He healed their sick and then saw that it was getting late and they would be hungry. So instead of dispersing them, He had them sit down in companies and told His disciples to feed them. When the feeding was all over I am sure this miracle surely was spoken about everywhere those in the crowd went. Jesus was appreciated for his provisions.
Empathy - The Raising of Lazarus - John 11
This is probably the most famous miracle which Jesus performed. Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus and even those who were there said, "Behold, how he loved him." Jesus saw the sorrow the two sisters were suffering and He immediately empathized with them. Jesus knows what death can do to a family when they lose a loved one and the sorrow that it brings. This is why he is such a great comforter. Even the unbeliever knows there is something different about Jesus. I have been to the funeral of many unbelievers and have yet to see a picture of Buddha or some other strange god being called to comfort the family. Even the unbeliever cannot deny the empathic nature of Jesus.
Teaching - Sermon on the Mount - Matthew 5-7
The Sermon on the Mount is probably the most famous sermon ever preached. It contains the Beatitudes, the Lord’s model prayer, and many principles for daily living including the Golden Rule. I am sure that many people that day began to adopt some of the principles which the Lord taught. Some people you meet in your life will tell you they live by the Golden Rule found in Matthew 7:12 while they break every other commandment under the sun. The crowds stayed with Jesus to hear His message which was filled with compassionate teachings toward people. Many people in the Bible enjoyed listening to Jesus. (Mark 12:37 KJV) David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly.
Healing - Man with the withered hand - Mark 3:1-5
Here was a man who had a withered hand and it was no doubt useless. Jesus having compassion on him healed his hand. First of all, this man was in the synagogue and I doubt very much, with the pharasaical attitudes of the religious leaders, that he was a regular attendee. No doubt this man was brought in by the leaders to try and trap Jesus by trying to get him to perform a work on the Sabbath day. Well, Jesus knew of their plans and that did not prevent Him from performing a healing on the Sabbath day. Jesus had performed many healing miracles and each one was spoken of and the evidence was walking around. Jesus was appreciated for His healing miracles.
We see in these 5 areas of the ministry of Jesus why the multitudes would follow Him because they were able to get something from Him.
1. Kindness
2. Benevolence
3. Empathy
4. Teaching
5. Healing
So Let us ask the question - What turns the Sunday Crowd into the Friday Crowd?
Monday - Death to Self - John 12:23-26
(John 12:23-26 KJV) And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. {24} Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. {25} He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. {26} If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
One of the strict requirements for following Jesus is that there must be death to self. No Christian can place the things of the world higher than God’s priorities. In fact our lives must take second place in our service to the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact God places such a high priority on service to him that He likens it to death. A dead man has no will of his own nor does he run his own life simply because he is dead to it. In verse 24 the two words "die" and "it die" are in the subjunctive mood which is the mood of condition or circumstance. A believer will bear much fruit if they die. That does not mean physical death but death to self. If there is no death to self, then there is no obedience to God. For God can only use a Christian who is completely sold out to the furtherance of the gospel.
Tuesday - Face Rejection - John 12:37-38
(John 12:37-38 KJV) But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: {38} That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?
The Lord Jesus Christ performed many miracles in the sight of many people yet for all that they still did not believe Him. As true Christians we must expect to be rejected by the majority of the people we bring the gospel to. Rejection is a part of the Christian walk and if you are not being rejected then you must check what type of gospel you are bringing. We see the accepted gospels of today which are tied to this world such as the charismatic gospels with all the health and wealth riders attached to it. The Lord Jesus Christ faced so much rejection that at the end before the cross even His own disciples forsook Him. The Pharisees could not figure out where His teachings came from, even though they fully knew that they were from Heaven. True teachings scare the religious establishment and their preachers. This is why so many true believers are thrown out of churches in favor of retaining the false gospels. Christians who remain steadfast on the true gospel will be rejected by many.
Wednesday - We must be His witnesses - John 15:27
(John 15:27 KJV) And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
Every redeemed believer must be a living testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ. The word "witness" comes from the Greek word "marturion" from which we derive our word "martyr." Since there is a difference between our present life and our pre-salvific life, we need to be able to tell people what happened in our life. April 24 will be the Anniversary of the first sermon I ever preached. Guess where I preached it? In my home church. God saved a womanizing drinker and many in the church knew of my lifestyle and here I was standing in front of the whole church telling them of salvation. The hardest witnessing campaign to undertake is to those who know you. We cannot be concerned how we were in our past life, unless we have hurt people and then amends should be made, if possible, but our responsibility is to put ourselves in the market place and be a testimony to the grace of God. A martyr is one that is dead and we must be dead to the taunts of others and be a witness. I remember handing out tracts with another brother in my hometown in Perth Amboy, NJ some years ago. A guy was coming at him with a big ice cream cone. My friend handed him a tract and said, "Do you know there will be no ice cream cones in hell?" The guy got mad at my friend and gave him the tract back. Nevertheless, we stayed out on the corner till about 9:30-10:00 PM.
Thursday - You will have tribulation - John 16:33
(John 16:33 KJV) These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
The word for "tribulation" is the Greek word "thlipsis" which means oppression or affliction. If there is one thing that true Christianity can guarantee you here on earth it will be affliction. If you try to hold to biblical principles on the job or in life in general, you will be persecuted by the world. You will be left out of family functions so they don’t have to say, "here comes the religious fanatic." Those at work will avoid you and even your bosses will pass you over for promotion unless you fall in line behind doing it the world’s way. Friends that you had in the world will forsake you and forget you. When I first became a Christian, the drinking crowd I hung with said I went off the deep end. Little do they know if they do not become saved, they will be plunged into the deep end. (He who has ears to hear) Yet God will give you a new crowd to hang with but even within that crowd if you hold to strong biblical principles, there will be those who will afflict you. Unfortunately, most of the Christian’s persecution and affliction is coming from inside the church not from outside the church.
Friday - You will oppose established religion - John 18:19
(John 18:19 KJV) The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine.
There are many instances in Scripture where Jesus chided and taught the church leaders of His time about the truth. He was consistently at enmity with the church leaders of His day and this was because their teachings were so skewed that when truth looked them in the face they could not tell. As a Christian, if you hold to the truths of the Doctrines of Grace as taught in Scripture, you too, will be at odds with the trained and ordained religious establishment. The majority of churches cannot discern between truth and false doctrine. How many churches, even those that call themselves Reformed in doctrine have capitulated to the signs and wonders movement with all its false works. Go into your church and say that Roman Catholicism is error and you will either get the boot or you will get a lecture on how they are trying to change. As Jesus was betrayed by the religious leaders of His day, He is still being betrayed by the so called church leaders of today and if you oppose the establishment with all its creeds, catechisms and commentaries, you too will be on the outside looking in. (1 Pet 4:16 KJV) Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
We can easily see what turned the Sunday crowd into the Friday crowd. The Sunday crowd liked all the amenities which came with Jesus such as being fed or being healed. Once we begin to delve into the real life of the believer, it contains many sacrificial elements and when the world hears things like sacrifice or death to self, it turns many away. The Sunday crowd loves the atmosphere of the liberal church such as bake sales, bingo, Chinese auctions, rummage sales, trips to Atlantic City (I belonged to a denomination that sponsored trips to AC), and all the other things a religious social club does. When we come to the sacrificial life, then the worldly crowd says no, we will not have that man to reign over us and thus the Sunday crowd becomes the Friday crowd.  (4/8/01)