ENCOURAGEMENT: As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to Me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of Him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
We have heard, and even preached, countless messages on this passage of scripture. I love this great story that is told in all four Gospel accounts. And as we all know, Matthew, the former tax collector, was there as well. So, he did not get this story from some outside source. He was there all along. He heard the words from Jesus instructing the two disciples to go into town and to untie the two animals and bring them back to Him. He watched as the crowds gathered and he heard the shouts of praise from everyone. He was, perhaps, even one of the disciples placing his cloak on the colt upon which Jesus rode. MATTHEW WAS THERE!
As we approach Palm Sunday in just a few days, may I remind us of some of the great truths revealed in this passage. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Master of the Universe, did not come in any way to earth to show off. He did not come to be served, but to serve. We see this time and time again, all throughout His ministry. Jesus could have been born in the greatest of hospitals in His day. He could have been raised in the wealthiest of homes. He could have lived in the fanciest of mansions. But, Jesus did none of that. He was born in a cave, and placed in a feeding trough, a manger, in the small insignificant town of Bethlehem. Jesus was raised by a carpenter in the town of Nazareth. And as He grew up we learn that He didn’t even have a place to rest His head. He wandered from place to place visiting, encouraging, healing, teaching, and SHOWING the way to the Father.
Jesus could have demanded a stallion or some giant horse for the disciples to bring his way, but He called for a donkey and her colt, and His instructions to the disciples were that if anyone questions what you are doing, just tell them that the Lord needs them. The Lord needs them! Common, every day donkeys and colts… the Lord has need of them.
Sometimes, we look for the greatest, the most valuable, the strongest of influences, and all things that can make the biggest of difference, but here Jesus looks for that which is common and simple. I know there are times we look at ourselves and think that we aren’t gifted enough. Sometimes we think we don’t have the strengths to do certain tasks in the church. But, one of the great truths about Palm Sunday is that Jesus uses even the most simple of things, and He will use you and me to bring about His Kingdom here on earth. This is the reason, Jesus, the Master and Lord, took the basin and towel, and went from one disciples’ feet to the other, washing them and drying them off. He came to serve and to show us how to serve.
Especially during these pandemic days, CHURCH, you have a gift that Jesus has need of. He is calling for you to serve today. It could be a neighbor that is in need of Christ. Perhaps, a family member you can share the love of Jesus with. Today, may we all know and understand that the Lord has need of you and me! Praise His name!