Sucker Punched on Palm Sunday

I never expected to be sucker punched on Palm Sunday. 

There I was, minding my own business, reading three simple verses in the book of Matthew. Palm Sunday verses. 

“Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. 

"'And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, "The Lord has need of them,' and immediately he will send them’” (Matthew 21:1-3). 

In commentary notes, I discovered that owning a colt in Bible days was today’s equivalent of owning a car or maybe a work truck. A colt (a young horse or donkey) was probably the most valuable thing a person could own. It was their transportation, their beast of burden, and their means of earning a living. Many families were so poor they couldn’t afford to buy or support an animal. 

When Jesus asked to use someone’s colt, he was asking to use something very valuable. Yet we see in this passage, because “the Lord ha(d) need of them,” the unnamed owner agreed without question. If Jesus needed them, that was reason enough to say yes immediately and generously. 

I’ve probably read this passage a hundred times, but I’ve never truly understood the implications of the third verse. Until today, when it sucker punched me in my spiritual gut. 

As the echoes of Jesus’ instructions to his disciples resounded in my spirit, I heard Jesus whisper a heart-stopping question: If I asked to use something of yours, how willing would you be to say yes? Immediately? No questions asked? 

If I asked for your car. Or your house. Or some money—a lot of money—would you let me use it? 

What if I asked for a chunk of your time? Or asked you to inconvenience yourself to serve someone else, would you do it? Cheerfully? Right away? 

Most of the time, I’m willing to serve the Lord when it suits me. If it’s convenient, relatively easy, and not-too-sacrificial. But what about when it costs me something? 

Like a significant amount of time, money, or effort? When those I serve aren’t appreciative or easy to love? When I have to yield my rights and privileges and honor someone else’s instead? 

All of a sudden, the warm gooey feelings evaporate, and serving God isn’t so fun anymore. One man said we all want to serve God—until someone treats us like a servant. 

I suspect it cost the owner of the donkey something to loan it to Jesus that Sunday. Maybe he missed a day’s work because he couldn’t use his beast of burden. Or had to walk everywhere instead of ride. Maybe he had to plow his field by hand because he didn’t have an animal to hook his plow to. 

Despite the cost, he responded yes immediately, “because the Lord had need of it.” 

This man knew all he had belonged to God. “What do you have that you did not receive?” Paul reminds us in First Corinthians 4:7. If it wasn’t for the gracious and generous hand of God, we’d have nothing. 

Instead, he blesses us with time, resources, and abilities—not for our own use only, but to bless others and advance God’s kingdom. 

Think for just a moment what it would be like to watch Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem and know it was your donkey that carried him. 

What a privilege. What an honor. What a joy. 

This week, as we follow Jesus’ footsteps on the way to the cross, I encourage you to ask God, “What do I have that you can use? What are you asking me to release to you so you can use it in your kingdom?” 

If he reveals something to you, say yes immediately. Surrender it to him joyfully and generously. Then watch and see how he uses it. Even if you don’t see results right away, you can trust God will use your sacrifices to accomplish his will and his work in the world. 

“Hosanna! Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” 

If you'd like to watch the video post that led me to this passage, click HERE. Thanks, Jean Wilund, for setting me up for the punch :)

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  1. What a lesson to learn... "Say Yes Immediately" :-)

  2. "Yes" immediately to Him. :-)


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