The last time I shared a prepared speech (I usually wing it) for our church's Wednesday night service was two years ago. Tonight, I was able to deliver another prepared sharing once again.
(RE: Matthew 21:1-11)
In tonight’s passage, we can learn a very valuable lesson in humility. And that God’s glory is sometimes in display through humble and simple things.
The passage details Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem. It was typical Jesus, humble and simple. Upon a donkey he rode, as a very large crowd spread their cloaks and branches on the road. He was greeted by cheers of “Hosanna!” He was welcomed as a king and conqueror.
Obviously, the crowd was cheering because they have seen or heard about Jesus’ miracles. They knew that this Jesus healed the sick, cast off demons, and fed thousands. And they were expecting that Jesus’ would use this power of his to overthrow the Romans and make the nation of Israel glorious and powerful. Indeed, they were welcoming a king and savior. Unfortunately, this people had the wrong idea about it.
The Jews’ expectations were focused on overthrowing Roman rule and the burdens of their people. But Jesus’ mission was far above that. Very far above that. He came not merely to save His people from political oppression, but from sin and death!
Many times in our lives, we are like the Jews. We expect, and even sometimes, demand God to work by our own standard and idea. So since we concentrate on our own expectations, and fail to seek God’s will, we miss it when God works.
While meditating this passage, I remembered about the time I read this short story in Max Lucado’s book “A Gentle Thunder”. It goes like this:
Once there was a man who dared God to speak.
Burn the bush like you did for Moses, God. And I will follow.
Collapse the walls like you did for Joshua, God. And I will fight.
Still the waves like you did in Galilee, God. And I will listen.
And so the man sat by a bush, near a wall, close to the sea, and waited for God to speak.
And God heard the man, so God answered. He sent fire, not for a bush, but for a church. He brought down a wall, not of brick, but of sin. He stilled a storm, not of the sea, but of the soul.
And God waited for the man to respond. And he waited.
And he waited.
And he waited.
But because the man was looking at bushes, not hearts; bricks and not lives, seas and not souls, he decided that God had done nothing. Finally he looked to God and asked, Have you lost your power?
And God looked at him and said, Have you lost your hearing?
God works through things we don’t expect. When we expect for a mighty conquering king on a great war horse, God’s glory will be displayed through a carpenter riding on a unimpressive donkey. God sometimes work through simple and humble things to glorify Himself. In fact, through these simple and humble things, he is actually most glorified. And His way, simple or humble or ridiculous or weak they seem to be in our physical eyes, is in fact a display of His greatness. Remember that it is written in the Good Book: “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.” (1 Cor 1:25)
We are limited humans that tend to focus on the small picture. While God is a Wise Omniscient God that always sees the big picture. We desire freedom from the Romans. God desires for us freedom from sin and death. We desire riches and prosperity. God desires for us everlasting life. We desire temporary worldly pleasures. God desires for us eternal and overwhelming joy in Him.
We actually want simple and worthless things compared to the great things God want for us.
As we would read later on in Matthew, this same crowd that met Jesus with cheers of “Hossana!” is the same crowd that would cry out for him to be crucified. We should examine ourselves if we have the same heart as the Jews. Do we praise God because we love him, or because we want something from Him and when He does not answer with conformity to what we want, we rage against Him?
Soon, Jesus Christ will come again. But his return will not be the same as the first time. Not as babe in a smelly manger. No, he will come in full and explicit display of His glory and power. Not, on a dull donkey, but on a magnificent horse. Not to be humiliated and crucified, but to judge mankind.
Thus, like what Jesus did, we can afford to sacrifice, to be humble, and to seek God’s will and surrender our own. Because our humility and sacrifices will be rewarded with the glory of being alongside Him on His Second Coming.