It is that time of the year again; the time we celebrate the passion of the Lord Jesus Christ. This Sunday (4/17/2011) is Palm Sunday. Most of our sanctuaries will be filled with Palm Branches while our choirs and praise teams will be singing songs filled with “Hosanna” as we celebrate the Lord’s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem.
Most of us know the historical account. Jesus fulfills Zechariah’s prophesy (Zechariah 9:9) concerning Messiah and rides a donkey into the city, declaring Himself to be Christ, and is openly received by the people. He cleanses the temple of the money changers, heals the blind and the lame and openly accepts worship from the crowd (despite the great disapproval of the chief priests and scribes). It is a great day. Over the next several days He teaches in the temple, rebukes religious leaders and speaks about the end of the world. Everything seems to go perfectly. Yet by the end of the week the crowd that shouted “Hosanna” was shouting “Let Him be crucified”.
I want to look at the beginning of the Palm Sunday story for this year’s message and talk about the owner of the donkey (and colt) that Jesus rode. Let’s take a look at the scripture:
As Jesus and the disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the town of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. “Go into the village over there,” he said. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a donkey tied there, with its colt beside it. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will immediately let you take them.” (Matthew 21:1-3)
Just say, “The Lord needs them” and he will immediately let you take them. Just let that statement sink in for a moment.
Let’s put ourselves into the two disciples’ shoes that were given this command. This required faith, trust and obedience at a very high level to execute the command of the Lord. Had the word of the Lord not been true they could have been arrested and convicted of theft.
Let’s flip the coin over and be the owner of the donkeys. Can you imagine two preachers walking up and asking for the keys to your car because “the Lord needs them” and you immediately letting them take the car? For most Christians this falls outside of our willingness to believe.
Palm Sunday ended with Hosannas, palm branches and garments laid down before Jesus riding upon the donkey but it began with the owner of the donkey’s willingness to surrender his possessions to the need of the Lord.
If you want to make people uncomfortable in church you share this type of message. My goal is not to make you uncomfortable but to hopefully challenge you to open your heart even further to the Lord Jesus.
Heaven has no need of our possessions or our finances. When we give to a church, ministry or minister our money is not translated to heaven where God uses it to feed the angels and water the tree of life. I think we all know that it stays right here on earth and is used by the people we give to.
The only mention of the owner of this donkey and colt is in this story concerning Palm Sunday. We do not know their name or anything else about them except that when Jesus’ disciples asked for the donkey, they said “yes”.
We will all go through moments in our lives like the owner of these animals. There will be times when “The Lord Needs Them” is spoken into our lives concerning our skills, possessions and finances. Sometimes it is the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to us in prayer and other times it will be the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking through another believer. Our response to these types of events is a revelation of how much of our heart that Jesus truly owns and it truly determines what can or cannot be done here on the earth for the kingdom of God.
For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” (Romans 10:13-15)
There are times when we will be the person who goes and tells others about Christ and there are times when we are called to send those who will go and tell others about Christ. We must be willing to both go and send; both are vital to the kingdom of God.
“The Lord Needs Them” is a powerful statement. Take an inventory of your heart and your life and you will find that if Jesus is Lord it will be a joy to be like the owner of the donkeys and “immediately let them take them.” I can think of no greater privilege than to have something that I have worked for be used to advance the Kingdom of God.
Each of us have traded portions of our lives in labor to earn the things that we have and to be able to have our lives be used to bring the message of Jesus Christ to others is an amazing privilege.
I will speculate that the owner of those donkeys would reflect back over the years that his obedience caused a prophecy of the Old Testament to be fulfilled and allowed the Son of God to be presented as Messiah to the nation of Israel.
Your willingness to surrender your possessions when you hear “The Lord Needs Them” may have an impact that you cannot foresee. My encouragement to you is to “immediately let them go.”
“Immediately letting them go” is a way for us to store up treasures in heaven.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)
I would much rather that which I have earned be given so that souls might be saved, needs might be met and the Kingdom advanced than that I might live a more luxurious lifestyle. As believers we must adopt a Kingdom worldview and allow our lives to be centered upon Jesus Christ. We must be willing to sellout and surrender all for His name and His gospel.
Sometimes we must surrender what we have so that others will be able to shout, “Hosanna”.