The story of the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, with crowds waving palm fronds crying out “Hosanna!”, is a scene that is at the bedrock of the Christian faith. Most importantly because it signals the beginning of the sufferings that Jesus had to endure including the shame of the cross, so that today you and I might have life and have it more abundantly. Although I have read the story, heard or seen it re-enacted several times, this year the character that caught my attention was the lowly colt Jesus rode on.
Of all the animals that Jesus could have chosen for his “grand entrance”, He chose nothing but an ass (no pun intended). What is even more surprising is that, the colt was “bound up” although it wasn’t being used by the owners. Just like this colt, many of us were enslaved and bound up to the slave master sin, until Jesus came and set us free. Sin had tied us up so we could not serve the real purpose for which God created us. Our lives were riddled with one issue after the other and the only path carved for us was one of destruction. Truth be told, we didn’t deserve to be saved but God out of his amazing love chose us and set us free, just like Jesus chose that colt in Mark 11:2-7, “… Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it” [NIV].
If we would be honest with ourselves, we would acknowledge that our “rap sheet” prior to our redemption, should have instantly disqualified us from being used in any way, shape or form by our Holy God. Yet, by the blood of Jesus, we have been made vessels of honor for the glory of God’s name. We too can be counted in the same league as the patriarchs of old. Indeed “take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ.” [1 Corinthians 1:27, The MSG].
As ministers of reconciliation we know that the harvest of souls is plenty, and yet the laborers are few. Yet, the Lord of the harvest continues to send laborers into the vineyard. Why then do we concern ourselves with whom God chooses to raise up and send into the vineyard. If the Master is in need of Him/Her for his kingdom’s cause, what use is it to us whether or not that person fits our description of whom God should use. After all, even we fell short of that description and neither did that colt fit the description of what we think Jesus should have ridden on.
Before Jesus chose the colt, it had no purpose but was tied up and enslaved by it’s masters. But today, that colt will forever be remembered as the animal that our Savior rode on his great entry into Jerusalem. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter how the vessel looks like on the outside prior to their encounter with Jesus. Just one touch from Him, and that vessel of dishonor will be made into a vessel of honor.
So next time you find yourself playing the role of the elderly brother to that prodigal son/daughter, remember that “The Master has need of Him/Her”