|The Donkey at Bethphage - James Tissot, 1886-96|
TO CHEW ON: "And if anyone says to you, 'Why are you doing this?' say, 'The Lord has need of it,' and immediately he will send it." Mark 11:3
Jesus' curious instructions to His disciples to just 'take' someone's colt have always fascinated me. He could have told them to buy it, which would have been less controversial. But instead, it was to be a loan or an outright gift.
The unquestioning and generous response of the donkey's owner is beautiful. Did he know that when the disciples said, "The Lord has need of him" they were referring to Jesus? Do you suppose that later he witnessed Jesus' ride into Jerusalem on 'his' colt? What a thrill that would have been.
I ask myself, would I have been as willing to let the disciples just take possession with the simple explanation, "the Lord has need of it"? Would you?
Perhaps a better question to ask is, are we as welling to give the Lord what He asks for when He comes with a claim on the stuff we consider ours—our time, our friendships, our hospitality, the use of our car for a trip to the airport, help with grocery shopping?
Did the disciples ever return that colt with the explanation of what they had used it for? Whether they did or not, I hope that generous man had the satisfaction of knowing that the release of his possession into Jesus' use was a significant and essential part of God's plan.
I wonder, If we felt that the fulfillment of God's plan was connected to whether or not we give Him what He asks of us, would we be as possessive and protective of what we feel is ours?
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I love the unquestioning generosity in the owner of this colt. Help me to be just as generous when You come to me with "I need it"—whatever 'it' is. Amen.
MORE: Palm Sunday
Yesterday was Palm Sunday, the day we celebrated Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem (our reading today). Here are a few Palm Sunday facts (gleaned from my Bible's Mark study notes by J. Lyle Story, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1371).
- When Jesus rode into Jerusalem in the way He did, he was fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9.
- The fact that the colt had never been ridden (Mark 11:2) was significant since objects used for sacred purposes must never have been used for any other reason (Numbers 19:2; Deuteronomy 21:3; 1 Samuel 6:7).
- Spreading clothes on the road (Mark 11:8) was the customary way for a king's subjects to pay homage to him (2 Kings 9:13).
- "Hosanna" means save now. It came to be a customary shout of praise, like 'Hallelujah.'