Book of Mark

When we’re asked to do strange things (Mark 11, Part I) #BibleStudy

Pray

Lord, God, your word is the bread that sustains my soul. I pray that you would nourish me as I read, and that your truth—the truth—would be evident to me. May I be changed by your word and may the world around me blessed because your words are alive in me.

Read

Today, I’m continuing through the book of Mark. Read Mark 11:1-4.

Reflect

Have you ever felt like God was asking you to do something a bit odd?

In this passage, Jesus instructs two of his disciples to go borrow a colt. He tells them where to go and what to say, but not much more. But his disciples don’t ask, “Why?” They don’t wait for an explanation. They simply go and do as he said.

What I’m guessing these two disciples didn’t get was that this was one of many ways Jesus fulfilled the prophecies about the Messiah: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9) And, indeed, that’s just what Israel’s king did: he came to them, humble and mounted on a colt.

If you’re anything like me, you would probably have asked why. You would have wanted to be in on the secret. You would have wanted to have an explanation for such a strange request. Yet, in this case, we see the disciples following Jesus’s instructions. I am inspired by this.

How often has God placed me in a situation that required me to simply obey, without asking questions? More than I can count! And it is not until much later, when I look back on it, that I am able to see that it was all part of his plan.

There are a couple of things about this passage that I love. First, it is a fulfillment of ancient prophecies about the coming Messiah. This simple act, this humble posture was prophesied ages before Christ was born. I also love that it was this posture that God chose to reveal his Christ. The human way would have involved a stallion, not a colt. The human way would have involved trumpets and fanfare. Yet God’s way is always so “other.” No, our Christ was not asserting his authority or worth—though he could have. He was setting the example that would be expected of us, his followers. Humility, not pride. Gentleness, not force. Patience, not barreling down the way.

But I also love how Jesus involved his disciples in this aspect of his journey. He sent them to get the colt. He entrusted them with this seemingly small, yet in fact eternally significant, detail. And this leaves me asking myself, what part of Christ’s work today is he involving me in? Or you?

Today, there might be a small act of obedience that may seem insignificant. But no act of obedience is insignificant. When Jesus bids us to join him in his work, our obedience allows us to participate in something truly great, truly important, and eternally significant. Even when we can’t see it. Even when, to us, it seems like a simple errand. Go get a colt. What’s the big deal? Yet it was part of the very fulfillment of Christ’s passion, Christ’s greatest work on earth, for the sake of all.

Apply

My prayer for myself and for you today is that we will have ears to hear when Jesus asks us to participate with him in his work on earth—and that we will have hearts to obey, without asking why, without demanding to know the reasons. May Christ be exalted in our small acts of obedience, and our large ones. Those that cost us, and those that don’t.

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One thought on “When we’re asked to do strange things (Mark 11, Part I) #BibleStudy

  1. We just talked about this event in church Sunday, except it was from Luke’s account. Your point about obedience is good. The pastor also said a donkey was not uncommon in those days for a king to ride when he was coming on a mission of peace (as opposed to riding a horse for a mission of war). So Jesus was saying He was the King coming in peace. Contrast that with the King riding on His horse in Revelation, when He comes to make war on His enemies. It’s encouraging that Jesus brings peace to anyone who seeks to obey Him and join His work on earth, as you said in your closing.

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