Our most recent family pic with only Andrew missing

Friday, March 27, 2015

Palm Sunday: You want me to do WHAT?

 We all know this story so well that we might be tempted to think "what new thing can I possibly learn from this text?"

Well, maybe there's nothing new to learn, but Jesus is a teacher who likes revision work ... He likes it a lot, because we are so forgetful, especially of the things we don't always want to hear, or don't like to hear.

So, what can we learn from this text ... or, what can we be reminded of in this text today? I am going to suggest 2 things which have particular significance for us as disciples.

Firstly: Jesus sometimes makes strange requests of us.
In this text, they've walked many miles, from Galilee, across the Jordan, on to Jericho and then 17 miles uphill to Jerusalem ... and now, at the end of that long journey on foot, just outside Jerusalem, Jesus says: "Go and get me something to ride on, specifically ... get me a donkey, and not just any donkey, but one with a foal!"
"Well, Lord, we're nearly there, in fact we'll get there quicker without a donkey, and especially a donkey with a foal with her. And in any case, we really think you should ride on a horse, like David did."

Jesus sometimes makes strange requests, doesn't He? 
 Prayer is a strange thing to do ... reading the same book over and over and over again, is a strange thing to do .... coming to a table to receive a small piece of bread and a ridiculously small glass of grape juice is a strange thing to do.
Feeding hungry people who you don't even know and whom you like even less, is a strange thing to do ... and sometimes it's just a darn nuisance.
Welcoming strangers is a strange thing to do, and, in South Africa ... a dangerous thing to do.
Visiting the sick, ah really, ... and visiting those in prison ... please, don't get me started!
So we learn (again, revision work) that Jesus sometimes make strange requests. But if you've been obedient to His strange requests, then you have also learnt that the more you do the strange things that Jesus asks you to do, the less strange they become and the more sense they make ... but that's a sermon for another day.

The second lesson, reminder, to lift from this story, is that disciples, (in verse 4-6), go and do what Jesus has asked them to do. Now over the the period of Lent a number of you have attended my Lenten Discipleship Course called Dare to be a Disciple and we've discovered that Jesus' last command to His disciples, what we call His Great Commission, was and is Go to all nations and make disciples. Not Go and make Christians, or followers, or Methodists or Anglicans, but go and make disciples.
You see, Methodists don't always do what Jesus has told them to do ... followers of Jesus don't always do what Jesus has told them to do, saved and born again people don't always do what Jesus has told them to do, but disciples ... disciples go and do what Jesus has told them to do because discipleship demands obedience, and disciples, far more than Christians, born agains, saved people, Methodists, disciples are committed to
Disciples go and do what Jesus has instructed them to do, obedience is the gift they love and long to give to God.

Finally, this text shows us that when we live in obedience to God, all the glory goes to God the Son, Jesus the Christ. The disciples who fetched the donkey aren't named ... there's no "We arranged the donkey"
The owner of the donkey isn't named ... so there was obviously no "Yes, you can take my donkey as long as the name of my Donkey Hire Company is stuck on the side of the donkey
And we don't know who started the singing ... or who was the first to pick a palm branch and wave it ... or who first took off a coat and laid it on the ground.

All the glory in this story just goes to Jesus

So, Holy Week 2015 begins with a reminder that Jesus, our Lord and Savior, sometimes make strange requests/demands of us. Many of the things Jesus asks us to do can be done differently, or perhaps even better, by other people, but disciples nonetheless just go and do what Jesus asks them to do, and they do it in a way that all the glory goes to God. May you and I be or become, the same.

May this Holy Week and Easter be one that as we journey through it, changes us, rearranges us, making us more open to hearing Jesus' requests and commands, making us more obedient to His requests and commands, may this Holy Week and Easter leave us living lives which glorify God.

1 comment:

Steve Hayes said...

One thing that strikes me about this is that Jesus had an underground cell network, where everything worked on a "need to know" basis, Go to such and such a place, and you will find a donkey with a colt. Go to town and follow the bloke with the watering can. Real Jamesbond stuff.