March 26, 2010

March 26: Obediently trusting and serving

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By Ruth Hochstetler, day circulation supervisor at the college’s Good Library
SCRIPTURE: Luke 19:28-40 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

DEVOTIONAL:
In Sunday School long ago, I remember creating construction paper palm leaves to illustrate this text. Another Palm Sunday, I might have acted as a palm waver in the church’s Passion Play performance; one young voice among many shouting the familiar line, “Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” Known as Christ’s triumphal entry, Jesus’ popularity hit a new high in the polls. This became the focus of the passage in the previous times I’ve read it.

But this time I noticed a different theme. John’s telling of the same story in John 12, references a Scripture from Zechariah 9:9 where this event was prophesied many years earlier. It all came together and Scripture was fulfilled, as participants in the story willingly obeyed what they were asked to do. Jesus, knowing all things and what needed to happen, obeys the Father’s plan by setting the stage. Two disciples of Jesus follow his detailed instructions to find a donkey and bring it to him, even though they may be questioned for their actions, and the only answer they can give is that “the Lord needs it.” The donkey’s owners allow the creature to be taken. An unpredictable donkey consents to be led away and ridden by Jesus. Only Jesus knew how everything was fitting together into a bigger plan.

How often am I asked to obey the Lord without knowing all the details or how it will finally turn out? If it doesn’t make sense now, will I risk my credibility, by obeying anyway? I might be tempted to tweak things a bit to gain my own advantage. What if the disciples had determined that a horse was a better choice for Jesus than a donkey and decided to surprise him with the upgrade? Even though Jesus knew his time was short and knew the suffering that was ahead for him, he obeyed the Father and stuck with the plan. When I realize my obedience may require suffering, will I continue to move ahead? Yet, if Jesus is asking something from me then he “has need of” me, and it is my privilege to serve him.

PRAYER:
Lord, help me to obey you gladly and willingly, and thank you for being my example by humbling yourself to obey all that the Father asked you to do.

SCRIPTURE: Luke 19:28-40 (NRSV)
After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.

When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, saying, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, “Why are you untying it?” just say this: “The Lord needs it.” ’ So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, ‘Why are you untying the colt?’ They said, ‘The Lord needs it.’ Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying,
‘Blessed is the king
who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven,
and glory in the highest heaven!’
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, order your disciples to stop.’ He answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.’

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Comments (7)

  1. Today’s verse is challlenging because its so familiar. To find nw meanig for me I usd my imagination to pivture the event – what I saw as like a street carnival, with seemingly crazy poorly dressed people worshipping their comical king on a colt. The Pharisee like the snake in the grass, warning Jesus to back off. But the praise was so natural and sincere – who could stop it? Let your praise and love for the Lord flow today!! Even if you seem crazy!

    Beth March 26, 2010 |
  2. I am so guilty of “tweaking” things and upgrading to the way I think things should be done! Thanks for the reminder that God sees the whole picture, while our finite minds only see a sliver.

    Betty March 26, 2010 |
  3. Not to mention the obedience of Abraham, not knowing the outcome of his obedience!

    Nancy March 26, 2010 |
  4. How true! We are not the directors, though our culture encourages us to be the directors, to take things into our hands. We are often the commentators, providing our input on what is happening…but how little we know in the greater work of God.
    Some day, when we see the bigger plan (that God already knows and sees) there will only be one comment we can make and that will be “You did that just right!…I understand it all now… Amazing!” Meanwhile, obedience is a demonstration of our faithful love.

    Twila March 26, 2010 |
  5. Wonderful interpretation……so many times people were asked to do that which they did not understand..to follow God’s plan. I have a thought on prayer….Don’t give God instructions. Just report for duty.” That’s what we are to do. Blessings to you all this Easter season.

    martha March 26, 2010 |
  6. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this scripture. It reminds me of how often I want to know “Why?” The Disciples didn’t get a very satisfactory answer to their question. I need to act even when I am asked for something that seems crazy.

    Mary K. Mishler March 26, 2010 |
  7. Thank you, Ruth, for these observations about tweaking and trying to control situations ourselves. Yes, our culture does encourage this, even calls it “leadership,” so it’s difficult to let go of control when God is calling us to do something we can’t necessarily control!

    Lisa Guedea Carreno March 29, 2010 |