reader will note that this section of Scripture has other lessons on the
website; this lesson points out some of the lesser noticed aspects of the
Luk 19:28-40 NIV
After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. (29) As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the
hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them,
(30) "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. (31) If anyone
asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' tell him, 'The Lord needs it.' " (32) Those who were sent ahead went and found it
just as he had told them. (33) As they were
untying the colt, its owners asked them, "Why are you untying the
colt?" (34) They replied, "The Lord
needs it." (35) They brought it to
Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. (36) As he went along, people spread their cloaks on
the road. (37) When he came near the place
where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples
began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had
seen: (38) "Blessed is the king who
comes in the name of the Lord!"
"Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" (39)
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your
disciples!" (40) "I tell you,"
he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."
Lord needs it
is sometimes presumed that Jesus must have made the arrangements for the foal
at some previous time. It seems logical, but it really doesn’t follow the
sense of the passage. There are any number of ways to arrange it, but it
appears that Jesus arranged it by not arranging it.
sends the disciples for a colt with only the words, “the Lord needs it.” Ever
the gentleman who woos instead of forces, he petitions some unknown disciple
with a call: he needs the colt. Apparently no explanation is given as to why
he needs it; he just needs it. It is likely a test of faith; if the Master
asks you for something, what do you do?
please, the instant response. No objection. Also, no committee meeting, no
request for further information, just an obedient response. Perhaps no more
than the nod of the head – and your property disappears into the parade. Will
it be returned? Who can say – but the Lord needs it, and that is enough. And
in the name of the Lord
much of our Lord’s life is exemplary – that is, he did what he did, how he did,
as an example to us. Even our Lord does not come in his own pride, pomp and
power – but he comes in the name of God the Father, to do his will. We,
therefore, should proceed in the name of Christ – following his example. It is
not our glory, but his.
than that, our Lord does his works in the name of the Father. Let us consider
that phrase, “the name of.” One of the great pleasures in life is to be able
to tell someone, “Just give them my name – they’ll take good care of you.”
It’s a pleasant thing to be known as a “somebody” – especially a somebody whose
name gets things done. How much more, then, is the power in the name of the
do we really work in the name of the Lord? We pray “in the name of the Lord”
quite a bit, but do we honestly take upon ourselves the burden of his holy
name, explaining our cause thereby, and crediting the results to it?
afraid that “the name of the Lord” has become a ritual phrase. The sense that
we are commissioned by God, working in His power and bringing glory to him
seems, to me, a rare thing these days.
humility of Christ
here presents his claim to be the true king of Israel. It is a moment which we
would adorn with pomp, but he goes in humility. For example:
is the only time recorded in Scripture when Christ rides. Other than
this, he walks his entire adult life.
what does he ride on? A colt. A foal. The lowest form of transportation
available. It is servant leadership; no pomp for me, but doing what the
leader must do.
his entry into Jerusalem is on the same day that the Jew was told to bring
the Passover lamb into his house.
The colt brings our sacrifice to the Passover. Like the lamb, the Lamb of
God goes meekly.
one might think, consider all the cheers. Is this humility? It is –
when the option is to have the very stones in the walls cry out.
Luk 19:45-46 NIV
Then he entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling. (46) "It is written," he said to them,
" 'My house will be a house of prayer';
but you have made it 'a den of robbers.'"
Son’s first stop
be in his Father’s house.
Is it not simple? The Son and the Father are one; therefore anything offending
the Father offends the Son.
this brings up the main question. Why is Christ’s anger directed at those in
the Temple? Surely there was plenty of other sin for him to condemn!
is a sin against the pure. Consider it this way: if you read of a gang
shooting where one drug dealer shoots another, you are not too perturbed.
But if the victim were, say, an infant shot during a drive by shooting,
you are much more outraged. Those who came great distances to devoutly
present their sacrifices were being mugged, financially, by those whom
they should be able to trust.
is a sin against God. All sins are ultimately so, but the connection is
very direct. His Temple, his instructions to his people – and now the
sin is being committed by the leadership of the nation. We try to hold
our politicians to higher standards, or at least have the hypocrisy to say
last is important, for (as one ancient author put it), “When the priesthood is
sound, the church flourishes, but if it is corrupt, faith is impaired.”
Temple as metaphor
does a physical place have such metaphoric importance as the Temple. Ask
yourself this: what does corruption do to the Temple as described in these
Temple is the body of Christ, as in the sense that Communion is the body
What does it do to the church when the Lord’s Supper is neglected or
Temple is the metaphor for the body of the believer – the temple of the
If the Spirit is not welcome within you?
Temple is the metaphor for the church.
If the church is corrupted, then what is the impact on the believer?
reader will note that we have excluded other metaphoric uses found in
Revelation, as this subject is rather lengthy.)
example of one man
more than anything else, this is the example of what one man with courage and
righteousness can accomplish in the face of evil. Permit me a parallel
In the 1930s a riot erupted in a
west Texas oil town. The riot soon turned into looting, and the sheriff
and mayor appealed to the governor for help. The governor wired back that
help would arrive by special train the next morning.
The next morning the train
arrived. The sheriff was amazed to see that the governor sent only one
man: Henry M. T. “Lone Wolf” Gonzualles. The sheriff blurted out,
“You mean they only sent one man?”
“There’s only one riot, ain’t
Over the headquarters of the Texas
Rangers to this day is the motto: “One riot, one man.” There is a
moral authority in this world. We seldom use it; indeed, “when what
is vile is honored among men, how the wicked strut!” But here we see such
Joh 12:20-25 NIV
Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. (21) They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in
Galilee, with a request. "Sir," they said, "we would like to see
Jesus." (22) Philip went to tell Andrew;
Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus. (23)
Jesus replied, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. (24) I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat
falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it
produces many seeds. (25) The man who loves
his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep
it for eternal life.
need to remember what “Greek” meant to the ancient world. These anonymous
Greeks are symbolic of the Greek system of belief, which underlies much of the
modern world. I would bring to you three specific points:
This was the primary way in which ancient man explored the truth – and
indeed the church kept Aristotle around for over a thousand years. Think
of it as logic and rational thought.
Aristotle and other Greeks established much of science, though this is not
recognized today. The idea that nature could be categorized and
described, with cause and effect, is a Greek idea.
Particularly in Athens, we have the roots of what today would be called
democracy. Into this fertile ground Christ will plant the idea of the
fatherhood of God and the resultant brotherhood of man.
what answer does Christ give to the Greeks (note, without hearing their
questions)? He brings to them the challenge of Christian living in a
philosophical, scientific world: the power of paradox. He who loses his life,
will save it. It is no secret; the Christian often appears the fool to the
The Apostles themselves were examples of this; they suffered greatly for the
privilege of bringing the Gospel to the world. To the worldly, this seems
madness – but it’s the only thing that works, in ultimate reality. The key to
truth is in the form of “who,” not “what.” Only in this paradox do we see the
solution to the deep questions of life.
point has largely been lost by the church today. We are, one author reminded
us, in the most anti-intellectual age the church has ever known. It is common
to hear a Christian – particularly an evangelical – dismiss an argument with,
“Oh, that’s only a philosophical argument.” Philosophical now means “false.”
With this we throw away much wisdom – and the background which helps us
understand that ultimate reality is in God, not philosophy. The paradox makes
no sense to those who do not understand man’s view.
have also gone from freedom to license (think about sex and marriage) today for
a much similar reason. We accept that “science proves” can be applied to such
things as, “an affair is good for your marriage.” We don’t ask what the limits
of science just might be; we just accept it.
you see the paradox clearly? Look at Christ; the greatest man ever to live did
so humbly, in a conquered country – and his main purpose was to die. He
should, by human standards, be forgotten. But in his meek lowliness of heart
he shows us that losing your life saves it. Perhaps he meant it when he told
us to take up the Cross.