Do you want to be popular? I suppose that you might reply – ‘It depends who with.’ Is popularity something that people tend to want primarily when they are young?
Or might people say that they would like to be popular with the people that they interact with on a day to day basis whether at school, at a workplace or in a community that they belong to.
Others might say that so long as they were popular within their family and friendship groups, then they would be satisfied. Most people would probably say that they would all like to gain the approval of those people whose opinions they value. And if we were ever to become unpopular it would mean that we would have to review our current behaviour or attitudes to see where we had gone wrong.
This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday, commemorating the day on which Jesus came into Jerusalem to be cheered on by dozens of people waving palm branches. It probably saw Jesus at his most popular during his earthly ministry.
However sadly not long afterwards, a crowd of people called for Him to be crucified. He could have been freed by the Romans, but the crowd chose to have a criminal, Barabbas, released instead. So much for popularity! But that of course was not the end. Because after Jesus’ crucifixion came His resurrection. And Jesus ended up becoming the most influential person who has ever walked the face of the earth. Someone who has continued to be hugely popular and loved by millions of people throughout hundreds of years. Unlike so many popular people today, Jesus’ popularity has been everlasting, because it was built on secure foundations.
It was because of the huge sacrifice He was prepared to make for us.