Jesus liked to tell parables It seemed to him a good way to get a message across. People relate to something that is recognizable in their context, relevant to the market place; relevant to the work places they are familiar with; the culture and time in which they live. Parables are a good way to share a message. Everybody loves a good story, and everybody loves to hear a good story from a good story-teller.
So, after Jesus tells them a story, a parable to the crowd, he goes on ahead to Jerusalem, and we are told that when he comes near Bethpage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sends two of his disciples ahead of him saying, “Go into the village and you find tied there a donkey colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here, and if anyone asks you why and for what reason you are doing this, simple say this: “The Lord needs it!”
So, as they follow the errand Jesus sent them on, they are questioned, and asked: “Why are you untying this colt”? They reply with these words: “The Lord needs it”! You know, don’t you wish that everything was that easy in ministry; when the Lord tells you to do something, and you go and do it and someone says: “Why are you doing this Father Dave? Or, why are you doing this Senior Warden Mike? Or, why are you using this song in the worship service Music Director Renee? Wouldn’t be wonderful if all we had to say was Jesus told me to, and besides that, the Lord needs it. “The Lord needs it”! That really should be enough for everybody right?
You know it doesn’t always work out that way does it? It seemed to work out really good for Jesus in this story, but then again you and I are not the Messiah that is going to ride into Jerusalem on a back of a colt that has never been ridden. One thing that we miss in this passage, unless you understand colts and mules, you just don’t hop on a colt that has never been ridden.
I really don’t know anything about training donkey colts for riding. I was doing some reading about mule and donkey trainers and training one for riding can be complicated, different than a horse, and maybe easier than a horse because of temperament, but will take considerable time and talent to train properly. Was Jesus an experienced rider? Trainers say that you cannot attend a three or four-day clinic and then start riding your colt the very next day. So, this is just as impressive as the way the colt that had never been ridden is acquired for Jesus.
They bring the colt to Jesus, and after putting Jesus on the colt, He rides into Jerusalem as people throw their cloaks or what we would refer to now probably as jackets, sweaters or hoodies on the ground in front of Him. The multitude begins to praise God joyfully with a loud voice, saying: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven, glory in the highest”!
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd say: “Teacher order your disciples to stop”! Jesus replies: “If I tell them to stop, the stones would cry out”! I’m not sure what is meant here. I mean the Rolling Stones have been around a long time, and they still appear to be singing. I mean for singers they’re getting up there. They’ve got to be in their 70’s by now, and I don’t think this means the Rolling Stones are going to sing out. Anyway they weren’t even around during the time of the first Palm Parade into Jerusalem.
What “even the stones will cry out” means is that the whole creation comes to a climactic experience at this point, because there is a theophany. “Jesus is coming into the city!” Our Lord is making His way into the heart of the city; into the heart of the kingdom of God established here on earth; into the heart of the church that is yet to be; into the hearts of the lives of all of us.” Jesus is coming into the city! It is a time to wave the palms. Our Lord, our King, our Messiah is coming into the city is a time to rejoice.
Our Lord, our King, our Messiah is coming; the radical message of Jesus who is coming into the city with a message: “We are going to make a difference, and we are going to change the world. “The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. … Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight”, (Luke 3:5; Isaiah 40:3) This radical Jew from Galilee is saying follow me into the city, the city the city of God.”
Jesus life and message continues to make changes. Jesus changes the dynamics of everything. It reminds me of that Mio water flavor commercial. One guy pours some into his water bottle and says “it really changes the water”, and the other guy says “it changes everything”! In the commercial everything that was normal before is now completely changed. Jesus changes the dynamics of everything. It’s a total, complete, rapturous, life changing world-view that that is taking shape that will totally envelop the world. It is going to change your life individually and all of us collectively.
Let us go into the city! The Pharisees say to Jesus: “Order your disciples to stop”! Jesus replies, “even if I ordered them to stop it wouldn’t do any good. The dye is cast. The premise is established. All is in motion for this point in time. God is changing the world, revealing the truth of what is right and what is wrong; of what it truly means to love God, and what it truly means to love one another; “to do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
It’s a message of righteousness. It’s a message of truth. It’s a message of virtual honesty. It is a message of love, love for all people. “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved”. (John 3:17)
This is Palm Sunday, the first day of Holy Week. “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it”. (Psalm 118:24) Let us rejoice and be glad of the coming of our Lord and Savior. In the tragic days that followed Palm Sunday, the soul searching days, the triumphant days and the exuberant days of praise for Easter that is coming…New life! New life for you, new life for us, new life for the church, new life for the world. The beginning of “i Ekklisia tou “Iesous”” (ee ay-sus) “Χριστός”, (Christós), the Church of Jesus Christ,