Jesus Has Need of Them
Standard; Mt 21:1 Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples,
2 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.
3 "And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and immediately he will send them."
4 All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:
5 "Tell the daughter of Zion, 'Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.'"
6 So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them.
7 They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them.
8 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: "Hosanna to the Son of David! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!' Hosanna in the highest!"
10 And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, "Who is this?"
“The Lord has need of them.” …...two donkeys. They were brought into this world, and tied up outside a house in Bethphage for such a time as this. God is so sovreign, that He even controls the wombs of animals. We've talked about that in our adult education hour, as God miraculously manipulated the genes of Jacob's livestock to serve His purposes of getting Jacob back to the promised land.
Friend, the “Lord has need of you!” He has brought you into this world for such a time as this! He has brought you to this church to hear this message today. How does He need us? I don't know. It doesn't mattter what He uses us for, we just need to be willing to be untied, and to be brought to Him. He'll figure something out!
On this Palm Sunday, let us be in awe of the fact that a holy God would be willing to use us mere men to be a part of fulfilling His eternal will. ….all right, let's look at the text.
Mat 21:1-9 GW When they came near Jerusalem (from the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, where a banquet had been held the night before, It was at this banquet that Mary, Martha’s sister anointed Jesus feet with expensive perfume.
“and had reached Bethphage on the Mount of Olives,” (Bethpage was a small village between Bethany and Jerusalem.) Jesus sent two disciples ahead of him. (2) He said to them, "Go into the village ahead of you. You will find a donkey tied there and a colt with it. (Matthew is the only one of the 4 gospels that mentions a donkey and a colt. The other writers just mention one animal)
Why mention the two in Matthew? Remember, Matthew was written primarily for a Jewish audience. And I believe these two animals are connected to the prophecy concerning Jesus as Jacob blesses Judah in Gen 49:11, “Binding his foal to the vine and his donkey's colt to the choicest vine.” The immediacy of this prophecy speaks of Judah inheriting a land so fertile that you could tie up a donkey to the grapevines.
But I believe this prophecy also speaks of our Lord's triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Who is the vine? Jesus said in Jn 15:1 that He is the vine, and so we have one vine coming into Jerusalem and two animals. The donkey, representing the Jews who are like the OT church giving birth to the colt, representing the Gentiles or NT church. It's interesting to note that Matthew says Jesus rode BOTH animals. (v7)
Kind of a crazy thing to do, wouldn't you say? Why would He do that, except to make the point that these animals are important. HE is the vine, for both Jew and Gentile. He is the Word. The Word of the OT and the New.
The donkey that is connected to the strong enough vine of the OT covenant, and the colt connected to the NT choicest vine of grace. Matthews gospel was written for the Jews and they needed to make the connection. They needed to see that the New Testament was to include the Gentiles, through the choicest vine of grace.
Mark and Luke were written with the Gentile in mind and the mention of the two animals served no purpose. So they simply mention the “colt” or Gentile connection.
Still another point made of this triumphal entry into Jerusalem by all four Gospels, was that Jesus was entering Jerusalem as a King, not the conquering king riding a Roman war horse, but a humble king riding on a donkey and the colt of a donkey.
Alright let's get back to the text as He continues with His instructions to the two disciples. Untie them, and bring them to me. (3) If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them. That person will send them at once."
Now, just put yourself in some shoes here. First of all, as a disciple are you willing to walk up to somebody's driveway, hotwire the car and drive away with it? Well you would if you believed Jesus and trusted His Word. “If anyone asks what you're doing, just tell then the Lord needs them, and they will let you take them at once. “ Okay, that's good enough for them and off they go on their mission.
Then what about the owner of the donkety and the colt. Yea, I'm gonna turn the keys of my new Astra over to some prefect strangers, so they can become part of a riot that is starting to shape up! I don't mean to stereotype, but these people have a tendency to get a little carried away, you know what I mean.
Now, my car is going to be used by strangers in the midst of a pretty tough traffic jam. I'm sorry, but I don't know these guys, they are not getting my car. I know you Josh, and even though it's your birthday today.....no spin in my Astra. …..unless something supernatural happens and the Lord moves my lips and I say, “sure take it for as long as you wish!”
I'll never forget when this happened to me at the EAA. We were going to show a film on the Harrier Jet and follow it with a gospel presentation, but we didn't have the right equipment. No film, no audience, no gospel. We went up to one of the TV stations there and asked if we could borrow theirs.
It was a 50,000 dollar piece of equipment and the guy didn't even know me. But he gave it to me on my signature. Why? Because the Lord had need of it! The next day when I called him to make sure the equipment got back to him in one piece he said it did.
He told me, everything was okay, but he still didn’t know what came over him. Everything he did that night was against station policy and his own gut feeling, but he felt compelled to let us use the machine anyway. I suspect the donkey owner felt the same way. Oh the power of prayer! Oh the Sovereignty of our God and our Jesus, when He has need of something! That same sovreignty comes into play when you have a real need as well.
This happened (the donkey and colt were brought to the Lord) so that what the prophet had said came true: (5) "Tell the people of Zion, 'Your king is coming to you. He's gentle, riding on a donkey, on a colt, a young pack animal.'"
This prophecy was written about 500 years before the events of Palm Sunday, and note the double ride. “Riding on a donkey, riding on a colt.
The disciples did as Jesus had directed them. (7) They brought the donkey and the colt and put their coats on them for Jesus to sit on.
(8) Most of the people spread their coats on the road. ( The idea of spreading a coat before a king was that of an act of submission and honor. A precedent is found in 2Ki 9:13 GW Then each one of them immediately took off his coat and laid it on the stairs below him. They blew a ram's horn and said, "Jehu is king!"
I like the sequence of the laying down of coats. First the disciples or apostles put their coats or symbol of submission directly under Jesus, then the people put their coats on the road under Jesus and the disciples coats. This speaks to me of the authority of the teachings of Jesus and the authority of the teaching of the apostles and reminds us to heed the teachings of both.
“And they, (the new church) devoted themselves to the apostle's teaching,” Acts 2:42
“Others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.” (It’s important here to understand the place of the palm tree in the near eastern mind. Palm trees are majestic in height, ever green, unceasingly replenished with new life from their deep roots. In those desert lands and in many an oasis they are the picture of life in a world of dryness and death.
While our minds picture the palm branches as symbols of victory and triumph, those in the near east regarded them as symbols of life and salvation, and that leads us into our final verse.
The crowd that went ahead of him and that followed him was shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!"
Hosanna means “salvation now, or perhaps you have heard it “save now!” It comes from Psa 118:25-26 GW We beg you, O LORD, save us! (Hosanna us) We beg you, O LORD, give us success! (26) Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD. We bless you from the LORD'S house.
Now to those doing the shouting, they were thinking in terms of a geographical conquering king, (that’s why they referred to Jesus as the Son of David) They were thinking, “Hey if someone can bring a man back to life after being dead for 4 days, it shouldn’t be any big deal to overthrow the yoke of Rome!”
In hindsight, we and the disciples found out differently. Jesus did not come the first time to set up a perfect kingdom, He came the first time to die for our sins so that HE could set up God’s kingdom in our hearts.
So let “Hosanna!” be our prayer today! Save us! And then know that He did and celebrate the joy of His salvation. A couple of years ago Robin gave me a key chain with the words, “celebrate your forgiveness' engraved on it. What a great reminder for me, and I hope a great reminder for you.
This is what we need to remember about this day and about this week in which we commemorate our Lord's Passion. He did it for us and our salvation. Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest! You have a King! His name is Jesus!
An He is the choicest vine! And you have been bound to Him by grace. Revel in it! And this week take some time to reflect on the awful price He paid that you could be grafted into the vine.
And remember, you were saved for a purpose. The Lord has need of YOU!
Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Untie yourself from the world and your own selfish pursuits. The Lord has need of YOU!