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Following Jesus When It's Unpopular

(The following is the February 25 devotional from my Next Step Devotions book. Before reading it, I suggest you read Mark 11 and pay close attention to verses 7-10.)

It is easy to praise and follow someone popular, especially if most people approve. Even if some disagree, we can readily stay the course and continue public support for someone if the majority agrees. However, supporting and following someone the majority dislikes is far more complicated.

Jesus experienced this extreme in public acceptance over a matter of days. As he rode a donkey into Jerusalem for his triumphal entry, “Many people spread their clothes on the road, and others spread leafy branches cut from the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted: Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (vv. 8-9). The crowds welcomed Jesus with open arms.

It wasn’t long, though, before Judas betrayed Jesus, authorities took him into custody, and others deserted him and ran away (14:50). In a few days, Jesus went from being the most popular man in the city to hear them shout, “Crucify him!” (15:13).

When we surrender to Christ, we do not sign up for what is momentarily popular. We place our lives in the hands of the risen Savior and surrender ourselves to him for the rest of our days. Those truly born again will not reject Christ later since disowning him after a profession of faith proves we were never his children (1 John 2:19).

It is easy to follow others at the height of their popularity. It is more problematic when most others hate them. Are you prepared to remain faithful to Christ in a world turning more against him?

Next Step:

How would you respond if forced to choose between following Christ (and any negative consequences it brings) and rejecting him (and the disastrous eternal implications of that decision)? If you are unsure you would endure anything to remain faithful to Christ and his Word, carefully “test yourselves to see if you are in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5).

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