By Steve DuPlessie | March 27 2018
So there is an interesting element in Matthew’s record of what happened on what is known as Palm Sunday. You might recall the story: Jesus was headed up to the city of Jerusalem with his 12 closest followers. So he told a couple of his disciples to go down the road to the little village of Bethphage and he told them they would find a donkey, and its foal, tied there. They should take the mother donkey and the foal and bring them both to Jesus.
He added, “If anyone asks you why you’re taking the donkeys, tell them ‘The Master has need of them.'” So the text in Matthew 21:1-11 tells us that the two disciples went ahead to Bethphage and sure enough, there were the donkeys waiting there, just as Jesus had said.
Ok, so it seems apparent from this report that Jesus already knew there was a donkey and her colt tied up and waiting in Bethphage; and he already knew that someone would question the disciples when they walked up, untied the colt, and walked away.
Some scholars think Jesus knew because he had made the arrangements ahead of time. Most think, retaining all the attributes and powers of his deity, Jesus just knew it, just like he knew all about what was going to happen to him when he arrived in Jerusalem. He’d already spelled all of that out to his disciples, three times: I’ll be arrested, tried, abused, mocked and tortured, then crucified, and then rise again from the dead three days later, he told them (Matthew 16:21-28). He knew all about it. He knew all about it and still he was moving forward to Jerusalem, to his arrest and certain death. He moved forward, “…obedient unto death,” as the apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians, “…even death on a cross.”
Jesus was willing to submit; submit his own will, submit his own preferences, submit even his own comfort and safety, to obey the fantastic, eternal plan of His Father for your forgiveness and your redemption and adoption as a child of God. And in that horrible obedience Jesus was ultimately honored as Savior and Lord over all. He set an example for us: obeying God’s clear plan for us. Sometimes what God’s Word tells us to do pretty clearly … is not our own preference, it’s going to make us uncomfortable, and it might even put us through some difficult pain.
Maybe it’s a job you need to quit because you know it isn’t pleasing God. Maybe it’s a habit or a hang-up you need to submit to him because you know it isn’t pleasing God. Maybe it’s a judgmental attitude, or an attitude of anger, or holding an unforgiving grudge that has to go. Maybe it’s a relationship that needs to end because you know it’s not pleasing God. And Jesus set the example of submitting obediently to God’s plan, even when it’s going to hurt, because the reward on the other side of obedience makes it worth it.
Some are sitting here this morning, and you did it, you broke off that relationship that was pulling you away from God. Some here finally made the courageous decision to stop drinking or drugging because they knew it was way outside God’s best plan for them. Painful for the moment. Rewarding ultimately. Listen, obedience always brings blessing.
Don’t miss that key life principle for followers of Jesus: Obedience always brings blessing. Peter took a huge risk, stepped out of the boat when Jesus called him, and … walked on water. I have always told people who say they don’t understand why God is asking them to do a certain thing, that if they will obey Him, God will reward them with a sense of peace and joy that compares to nothing this world has to offer. Obedience always brings blessing. Jesus knew that. So he went, resolutely, to Jerusalem.