As he came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives, he sent two disciples ahead. “Go into that village over there,” he told them. “As you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks, ‘Why are you untying that colt?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”
So they went and found the colt, just as Jesus had said. And sure enough, as they were untying it, the owners asked them, “Why are you untying that colt?”
And the disciples simply replied, “The Lord needs it.” So they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it for him to ride on.
As he rode along, the crowds spread out their garments on the road ahead of him. When he reached the place where the road started down the Mount of Olives, all of his followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen.
“Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in highest heaven!”[a] But some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, “Teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!” He replied, “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!”
I don’t like Timehop in the same way I don’t like reading my old journals. As an outspoken, spunky, still-learning-how-to-use-humor-in-a-healthy-way young woman, I don’t really like looking back at the things I said and did when I had even less wisdom and self-restraint than I do today.
Like most people, I make mistakes again and again and again. I don’t learn my lesson and have to ask for forgiveness for the same things all the time. Does anyone else feel guilty or embarrassed with every passing, “Holy Spirit, give me strength for the next time,” prayer? This repetitive repentance means that while I am proud of and thankful for the incredible ways that God has changed me in the past one, three, and five years, I do not want to read what I had to say on any given day back in college. I don’t even really want to read what I had to say a few months ago.
My journals serve to remind me just how long I’ve dealt with the same areas of weakness in my life. Instead of being reminded, I would prefer to believe that there is hope for perfection. I would like to think that at some point I will be such a strong, faithful, and wise Christian that I will become the first person in the history of the world to literally stop sinning. This is ridiculous, I know, but I still hope I’ll do it. What’s worse, I assume that Jesus hopes I’ll do it, too. I assume that he listens to my prayers and thinks, “I’ll give you strength, but we both know it’s only a matter of time.”
How often do we put words in his mouth--imagining that he agrees with our unattainable standards? If we look closely, right there on that donkey, Jesus tells us what he’s actually thinking. The following is my own paraphrasing of our passage in Luke 19:
Just as they passed the road to the garden where only hours later these men would flee, leaving Christ in the hands of his enemies, the whole crowd of disciples began to proclaim that their friend was the King who came in the name of the Lord. The Pharisees asked him why he did not stop them from saying such scandalous things. He did not say, “Don’t worry, they’ll abandon me tomorrow.” He did not say, “They sound good now, but it’ll only last so long.” He did not say, “Yes, they seem so committed, don’t they?” He didn’t even say, “When they stop, the rocks will cry out.” He said, “If.” “If they stop, the rocks will cry out.”
What Grace is this that believes we are capable of righteousness even when he can see our weakness coming just a few hours away? What Mercy could love the chronically broken? Only the King who entered Jerusalem on a donkey.
This week, as we begin to look at the events leading up to sacrifice and salvation, let’s take a moment to understand that it all started with omniscient Grace...with the welcoming of our wonderful Savior.
Victoria Stern is the Exhibitor Coordinator for The Well Conference and works at Westside Church in Bend, OR. She attended Portland Bible College and has a one-eared dog named Mycroft.