Luke 19:36-40 (ESV)
36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
Matthew 27:15-17; 21-23 (ESV)
15 Now at the feast, the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted. 16 And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. 17 So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ? And they said, “Barabbas.”
One crowd sees Jesus as He is. He is the blessed King, one who offers peace with Heaven, whose glory is undeniable. This crowd greets Jesus as He deserves. They have seen His glorious works and welcome Him as the conquering hero. These adorers of Jesus are not paid, heralds. They are not groupies who follow Jesus and praise him as if Jesus needs their praise. No, they are worshiping Jesus because they find in Him goodness, love, grace, and mercy. Their worship is spontaneous and genuine. They praise Him because they rejoice in who He is. They praise Him, not out of fear, but out of love. They enjoy Jesus and want others to enjoy Him as well. Their worship is so loud and distracting that the Pharisees ask Jesus to rebuke his disciples to keep them quiet. But Jesus says that if His children are silent, then His creation will sing. Jesus receives and will receive all the honor and glory for who He is.
Then we see a second crowd. This crowd also sees Jesus as He is. He is the innocent Son of God. A man who claims to be a King, who goes about proclaiming the coming of His kingdom. Jesus poses a threat to their comfortable, sin-filled life. They love sin and want to remain in it. They don’t desire holiness; they wish to continue in their own path of destruction. Most of all, they want to rule themselves. They do not desire to submit to their rightful Sovereign. They don’t want to bow to their King, so they choose a killer over their Creator. They don’t praise Him but curse Him. They reject the perfect and holy God in the flesh. They want one of their own, an evil sinner like themselves. They don’t worship at Jesus’ feet but demand his feet be pierced with nails.
Jesus is a very polarizing figure. Jesus is the same, but both crowds react to Him very differently. You either love Him or hate Him. You either shout Hosanna or Crucify! With your life, you either worship Him or blaspheme Him. How will you respond to Jesus? You either choose Him, or you choose Barabbas.