The Lord needs it (11-04-22)
Bible Reading: Luke 19:29-35
As Jesus approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and 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 untying it?' say, 'The Lord needs it.'" Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, "Why are you untying the colt?" They replied, "The Lord needs it." They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it.
In the first year of our marriage Helen and I lived in Nottingham. At that time we were both students. Having finished our degrees, Helen was training as a teacher and I was doing a course in farm management. We were in love and very happy, but we were effectively penniless. We joined a church in the city centre where we made what have become some lifelong friends. I remember the generosity of the congregation. One couple gave us their second-hand washing machine and someone else offered me his car so that I could travel to college more easily.
Lending a vehicle to someone else is a big commitment. Apart from the inconvenience of not having it available yourself, it is an expensive item to lend and there is the matter of insurance.
Turn the clock back two thousand years and we find a similar thing going on in Bethany. Jesus has arrived there, less than two miles from Jerusalem, his final destination. He needs transport, so he borrows a donkey for his triumphal entry on Palm Sunday.
On the face of it this may look like a random act, purloining a valuable ‘vehicle’ from an unsuspecting villager. I’m not sure it is that random. John’s gospel tells us that Jesus’ close friends, Mary, Martha and Lazarus, lived in Bethany, while Mark’s gospel tells us that in the few days between Palm Sunday and Maundy Thursday Jesus travelled daily to Jerusalem, stopping overnight in Bethany.
I wonder, therefore, if the donkey belonged to Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead, and that this generosity was therefore a response to all that Jesus had done for him and his sisters. To me this makes sense of the words ‘The Lord needs it’ and the willingness of the donkey’s owner to lend his valuable animal to Jesus.
And we are not that different to Lazarus. When we were condemned to death because of our sin, Jesus forgave us and raised us to life.
I am challenged then, as to how much of what I possess I make available to Jesus. There is a saying, relating to the Lordship of Jesus in our lives, ‘Lord of all, or not at all’.
What would it mean for you to lend your donkey to your Lord and Saviour.
Lord Jesus, you gave your all for me,
Help me to give my all for you.
I will offer up my life