Isaiah 50:4–9a (NRSV)
Verse 4The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens- wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught. Verse 5The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward. Verse 6I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting. Verse 7The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; Verse 8he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me. Verse 9It is the Lord God who helps me; who will declare me guilty? All of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up.
Crowds are fickle. One minute the leader is the hero and everyone is waving palm branches, singing their praises, and hitting “like” on their posts. The next minute the shouts are canceled.
Only crickets remain.
Jesus felt that shift this week. Things began with the accolades of the crowd. They welcomed Jesus as the one who would save them. What did they expect of him? Did they want Jesus to storm Pilate’s palace, drag him out, slaughter his troops, and establish himself as the rightful king? Did they want Roman blood to fill the streets? If so, they were profoundly disappointed.
Jesus must have felt these words of Isaiah as the crowd turned their backs on him. Yet, he knew that it was not the crowds in whom he put his trust. Perhaps he thought with Isaiah: “It is the Lord God who helps me; who will declare me guilty?” (Isaiah 50:9)
O God, help us to filter out the noise of the crowd. Give us ears to hear your voice and trust in your steadfast love. Amen.