What a contrast between the two Sundays; what a turn around in six days. From absolute exhilaration, for gloom and despondency. The Palm Sunday crowd were full of enthusiasm, for Jesus was to be their King who would restore their fortunes. He would bring in the messianic kingdom of David, and shatter the yoke of the domineering Romans. This was to be their moment of glory and freedom.
They were going to live again in the glories of the Davidic kingdom when they were the centre of the world. They would have prosperity and fortune.
As they cut down the palm branches they were already thinking what this new kingdom could do for them. Maybe a bigger house, more money, a better job, certainly better clothes and a more respected position in society. As they waved the palm branches they were planning how much their improved life would be for them.
The Palm Sunday crowds were only thinking of the benefits to themselves when Jesus would be the new King, who would usher in this new age of prosperity, riches, success, wealth, boom times and abundance.
But Jesus had no intention of being their ‘santa claus’ or ‘genie’ who would grant their wishes. Today it breaks Gods heart to see this attitude so prevalent among his children. “What can Jesus do for me?” This ‘health and wealth’ gospel is consuming Gods children who should know better, for the finger of Satan has reached deep into their hearts and minds with this seductive gospel. These shallow Christians have been ripe ‘fodder’ for the irresistible temptation of security, wealth and prosperity.
We who are reading this blog do not want to be part of this crowd.
Easter Sunday paints a different picture of Jesus the ‘suffering servant’ promised and predicted long ago, most notably in the suffering servant chapters in Isaiah. This is the true Jesus; this is the true mission of Jesus. Jesus went about preaching the good news of the kingdom of God. While he was preaching and teaching of his Kingdom, he made it so plain that to be part of this kingdom, one had to deny self and take up their cross and follow him. There is no shadow of doubt that this has nothing to do with the ‘health and wealth’ gospel. Jesus made it very clear with these words – “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Be careful you ‘name & claim’ it believers for you well loose your life!
To be part of Christ's kingdom one has to do away with self, do away with ‘what is in this for me’ thinking. It is said of Jesus in one of the first hymns of praise of the early the church that he –“made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross! This is all about denial of self for without such a mind set we will not see God nor will we find favour with God.
God is tired of our whining and complaining that our life is too tough. Do we think that we students can be better than our teacher? Consider these words very carefully –“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
On Easter Sunday Jesus died and rose again for YOU. Out of his love for YOU he died and rose again. Why? So that we can lay up treasure in heaven; and this is how we treat such a sacrificial gift. Shame on you; get down on your knees you double-minded people and repent of the prosperity gospel that is ruining your life in Christ. How dare you treat God like a ‘vending machine – pop in a faith prayer and out drops your wealth and health fix.
God’s judgement is on this gospel movement for they preach another gospel that Paul did not preach. Be warned, for these greedy pasters and teachers who are dressed as wolves in sheep’s clothing are tearing the sheep apart and scattering the flock of God. Jesus warned us when he said – “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." For it is upon these false teachers and their followers that Gods judgement is coming,for it would have been better if they had not known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to have turned their backs on it.
I thank God that he has promised to supply all our needs. We are rich when we have his peace and can live without fear all the days of our lives in holiness before the Lord!
Let us not be of the Palm Sunday crowd but align ourselves with the faithful few who having denied all; believed on that Easter morning and followed the risen Christ in humility and child like faith.
You have addressed this topic very well. Watchmanjohn, it simply breaks my heart when I see or hear Christians criticize and even condemn dear, faithful brothers and sisters in Christ who endure suffering but steadfastly keep their eyes on Christ. What giants of faith they are! There are those who have lost their jobs, faced public ridicule, been stripped of their possessions, beaten, arrested, imprisoned, tortured, separated from family and friends and so forth. These people do not deserve our condemnation! They deserve our prayers and support!
A few years ago, I read an account of a lovely young woman who was attacked by some men in a country where it is illegal to convert to Christianity. They threw hot oil in her face and she was horribly burned. Fortunately, other Christians were able to obtain medical help for her but it was a painful healing process and the scars remain. What is she doing now? Well, she continues to share the love of God in her community.
My heart also aches though, for the people who have fallen prey to this terrible false doctrine. They've been duped into chasing after the god of this world and yes, I do fear for them for what will they do when the wind, rain and floods come? What will they do when the things of this world pass away?
Hi watchmanjohn; Once again a very good post. This is something that I have been wanting to address for the last few days but have been feeling too much under the weather to do much of anything. The prosperity message is one of several man-made doctrines that is destroying the church today, and you did a very good job of bringing out the falsehood of this particular one.
You mentioned Jesus saying that we must take up our cross daily and follow Him. Most feel that He is talking about shouldering our persecutions, our trials and tribulations to follow Him. Of course if we are truly following Him we will have these, but what He is speaking of is the need for us to die to ourselves daily and follow Him in His life. The cross has no other identity than death anytime it is spoken of. If we have truly died to ourselves where is the need for this prosperity? Prosperity is only to fulfill our fleshly desires. These desires are another thing that is wrong with most churches today. I have heard preachers preach that whatever comes into your head that you want is what God wills for you. Again, if we have died to ourselves and are living to Jesus, how can our desires be anything but His desires? Some will say that it is His desires for me that I want. His desire for each of us is to be one with Him, and His Word tells us over and over again that riches take us away from Him.