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The Lord Needs It
Key Verse 11:3
“If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.”
In the last passage Jesus asked the blind beggar “What do you want me to do for you? (51) It was a question that touches the inmost desires of men’s hearts. Jesus had once asked his own disciples before they began to officially follow him the same question, “What do you want?” (Jn 1:38) They had answered him saying, “Rabbi, where are you staying?” At the time, they were pure hearted and simply wanted to be with him and to learn from him. As time went on, their hearts began to covet the power and glory of worldly rulers. (Mk 10:35) At the time Jesus’ question, which bores deeply into the human heart did not change. He again asked them, “What you do you want me do for you?” (Mk 10:36) They wanted power and glory. But instead, Jesus guided them to desire what is noble and good in the sight of God. He promised them that they would share in his suffering and be part of God’s plan to save the world. It was what their hearts should have desired in the first place. Still, Jesus’ question did not change. When a blind beggar came looking for Jesus, Jesus asked him the same question, “What do you want me to do for you?” He just wanted to see. The desire of his heart was not yet ennobled (exalt). But he had a heart with the potential to seek the noble things of God instead of the ignoble things of man, for he was a man of faith and prayer. We cannot ignore the desire of our heart. What men desire in their hearts might pave the way to the kingdom of God for them, or it might well widen their path to destruction. Therefore, it is imperative that the children of God purify the desires of their hearts until their hearts’ desire reflects the will of God for their lives. A few hours before our Lord Jesus was handed over to suffer and die, he reveled the deepest desire of his own heart through his prayer. Jesus said: “Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.” (Jn 17:1) Before his death, Paul also revealed the deepest desire of his heart. He said, “I want to know Christ.” (Phil 3:10) “What do you [really] want?” may be one of the most important questions we can ask ourselves. “Lord, purify the desires of my heart” may also be at certain times in our spiritual lives the best answer.
There were so many things for the disciples to learn from Jesus. Every day was a new experience with Jesus— new things to learn. But every time they heard heard him ask questions like “What do you want?” or “What do you want me to do for you?” it cut deep into their hearts with a conviction. And that wasn’t easily forgotten. When they tried to be honest with themselves, they couldn’t but realize that their desires were corrupted by everything they saw and heard around them. They were then sure of one thing: the desires of their hearts didn’t reflect the will of God— their hearts needed to be purified. When they first began to follow Jesus (became Christians), everything looked great. They felt revived and strong enough to challenge the world. Nothing could shake their determination. They had high hopes, and dreams of glory. But Christian life is difficult and their determination began to weaken. Life with Jesus was no longer a joyride to honor and glory. It was more like an inner battle to give up hopes and dreams they had no intention to give up— an inner conviction to repent of desires they had no intention to give up. Christian life wasn’t winning anything, but it seemed that it was losing everything. In self reflection, his question, “What do you want” had never been as convicting as it was today— as they followed him to Jerusalem. “What did they really want”? It was a hard question to answer.
For Judas Iscariot, the one who would betray him, it was quite clear what he wanted. He wanted nothing to do with this “nonsense” about suffering and death which Jesus was talking about more and more. So, he made up his mind to give up— not his desire for glory— but everything he had learned from Jesus. He didn’t want to think that he had wasted three and a half years of his life following this “cult”. He would sell Jesus for 30 pieces of silver— some retirement money in exchange for betraying his friend Jesus. That was Judas! The rest of the disciples were different. They knew they needed to give up the desires of their hearts. They knew that the right thing to do was to accept Jesus’ teaching— by faith— even if it conflicted with their desires of their hearts. They would follow him because he was the Son of God— the Savior— and the one who held the keys to eternal life and the kingdom of God. Today, Jesus was about to teach them another truth about himself and about the Christian life. It would come as a shock to them. He would enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey. And he would do so as the last leg of his journey to the cross.
The way Jesus entered Jerusalem— riding on a donkey— is one of the most beautiful image of Jesus’ Kingship. This act confirms him as the Conqueror of sin and death. It shows him as the King who came to conquer people’s hearts with the love and peace of God. It also shows his disciples more than ever what kind of King he is, and what kind of Kingdom he rules. It shows something hard to accept— that whoever follows Jesus, must give up all expectations in this world and all ties to it. Why is that so? Simply because he shows himself a different kind of king of a different kind of kingdom— a king of a kingdom so different from what people want in this world. Every thing this King represents is nothing like this world. They call this the “triumphal entry” (victorious and successful). But in a worldly sense, it didn’t look much like a victory of any sort— but more like a defeat and a loss— for they would soon capture him, beat him, and kill him. But it was in every way a “triumphal entry” because the act itself shows us and the world that Jesus was willing to undergo all this, and by doing so, he would claim victory over sin and death. Through this he made it possible for us to have eternal life and to enter the kingdom of God. That is the “triumph” that was accorded to Jesus. Here’s the story.
Read verses 1-3. “As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, ‘Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’” Now here’s a very interesting story. Jesus needed to enter the city. It was the will of God for him to do so and in this specific manner. It was prophesied and Jesus always followed God’s plan for his life and never his own plan. It was the most humiliating thing any king could go through— to enter his city on a donkey. It didn’t befit a king to do so. But God wanted it this way, and Jesus would agree.
A king should reveal his power and glory. He should bring the city and its people to their knees in submission to him. That’s the way of the world. But not God. God wanted the King of kings to enter his city on a donkey. He would bring peace rather than war. He would bring the love of God rather than oppression. And this was God’s wisdom that his King come to conquer hearts rather than to make slaves. God Almighty cares nothing for worldly powers and worldly glories. He cares, however, for humble repentant hearts. Jesus entering the city on a donkey shows the world that his King has nothing to do with worldly kingdoms and riches and powers and glories— that his King was a King of a Kingdom so different from anything the world considers kings and kingdoms to be. The rules are different. The character is different. The purpose is different. It was a like a humble man entering a city on a donkey, heading for the whip and the gallows. This act was like a remarkable parable of what kind of a King Jesus is and what kind of a kingdom he rules. This king’s heart is humble and obedient. His kingdom can be reached through the road of suffering and death. A wonderful reflection of the King and his Kingdom. Who can understand and accept such a thing you think? Only those who are humble at heart can see such a king and such a kingdom. Only these can walk up to him, take his hand, and walk with him to his kingdom.
Jesus knew that God wanted him to ride into the city on a donkey. It wasn’t easy. But he did it with all his heart. Why would Jesus accept such a ridiculous thing when the world wouldn’t be comprehend it— when everyone expected something different? Well, that’s the beauty of Jesus. He didn’t live to meet anyone’s expectations. He also trusted God’s wisdom. Trusting God’s wisdom isn’t easy. But it is the foundation of faith. When Jesus had to make choices in his life he had to break people’s expectations sometimes. He trusted God’s word and God’s wisdom above all else.
And he wans’t alone in trusting God. The disciples had many problems they had to work out in their lives. They had things to overcome. They had issues they needed to repent of. They were young and immature for the most part. But there was something wondrous about them that no one can ignore. It was the secret of their strength in serving God and in continuing the work Jesus left them. They trusted Jesus. They trusted his word. Whatever direction he gave them they trusted it. They trusted Jesus with their lives— with their future. They simply trusted Jesus. This kind of faith in Jesus’ words set them apart from everyone else in the world. When Jesus told them to go into the city and find a colt and untie it and bring it to him, they should have argued the wisdom of such an action— in taking what did not belong to them. It was dangerous. But they were equipped with his word which they trusted— “The Lord needs it!”. Look at verses 4-6. They anticipated the difficulty of doing such a thing— But Jesus had told them what to say. Their faith in Jesus was not idle faith, it was a faith based on trust. There are those who do not trust God’s word. Everything becomes a question and a doubt, a justification or a concern. They live in idle faith. They do not experience God’s hand at work. But those with faith, they taste the grace of God and his hand at work in everything.
Trusting God and his word are the foundation of our faith. It is the secret of your strength to serve God and to do what God wants you to do. Without trust based on your faith in Christ, you can do nothing worthwhile in the spiritual world. Christian life is not easy. The demands are great and many. But as long as there is trust, there is strength to do as we must do. When Christians encounter difficulties it is their trust in God and their faith in him that strengthens them. When Christians serve God’s purpose in their lives with faith, they believe that God is sovereign and lean on him the whole way. Trust is not easy. But without trust there can be no faith. And where there is no faith, everything you do in life becomes like a huge question mark! Where there is no trust, there is nothing but confusion and regret and guilt and in our lives. Someone asked another, “How can you trust me when you do not even know me well enough to trust me?” The answer was simple. “Trusting you has nothing to do with whether I know you well enough or not. I trust you not because you are trustworthy, but because I trust God. And when I trust God, I can trust even those I do not know, even the non-Christian. I trust that God who loves me and will keep me safe in all things.” That’s trust, and the faith in God that can be powerful in our lives, and rid us of unnecessary confusions and suspicions that break us apart. Someone said: “How can you trust this person when you know that some day they will betray you.” The answer is also simple. “Are we better than the Lord who trusted and loved Judas even though Judas was to betray him? We trust because we trust God. We serve because we trust God. We love even the unlovable because we trust God whom we love. We live as if all men are our brothers whom we must serve because we trust that God died on the cross to forgive our sins and theirs.” Surely man’s trust problem with man is closely related to his or her trust problem with God. When a person trusts God, they can do anything. We are not tied down to anything—not even to the small doubts and fears and caution that sometimes makes us unproductive. We are not frightened by anything. We can love anyone and serve anyone, even those who hurt us. We hold no grudges against anyone. Why? Because we trust God and we trust his word that tells us so.
The disciples trusted Jesus. They did as he said. They said what he wanted them to say because they trusted something crucial— they trusted that all things belong to the Lord— that all things are God’s property— and that even meant their own lives— even other people’s lives— even the donkeys that belong to other people. They did as he said because they trusted that he is the Lord. “The lord needs it”— Your life may seem as if it belongs to you, but it does not. It belongs to the Lord, and he needs it. Jesus needs us in the work of salvation he is fulfilling the world, and we need to respond. That is the bases for telling others the truth— that their lives and families, and all belong to him, and that he needs them. The disciples trusted Jesus and they trusted his word— that all things belong to him and that he needs them.
Read verses 7-10. “When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, ‘Hosanna!’ ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!’ ‘Hosanna in the highest!’” They shouted “Hosanna”. It means “save us!” People were crying out to God to save them. What they wanted from Jesus was to destroy those who were oppressing them and making their lives miserable and to give back their freedom and their land. Sometimes Christians also pray for God’s salvation, from situations, and difficulties, and from other people who they think need to be punished. But it was not why Jesus had come. Jesus would give them back their freedom, but it would be a freedom from sin and condemnation. He would die not only to save them but to save their enemies and oppressors as well. This is the character of God— that God loved the world so much that he gave his Son’s life for the salvation of anyone who would have faith in him, and trust him. It was “Triumphal Entry.” It was humble and small. It involved Jesus’ anguish of betrayal and crucifixion. But it was God’s way. We must learn to trust God as Jesus trusted him and as the disciples trusted Jesus. It is the foundation of faith. May you welcome Jesus the triumphal King into your heart today, and to trust him and his word above all other things. Amen.