Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Forgotten Discipline of Donkey-Borrowing

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me." (Matt. 21:1-2)

Most Christians don't even know about it. But can we say we love Christ if we don't do what he has commanded us to do? The above text makes it very clear that Jesus commanded us to borrow donkeys. It was not a suggestion. It was an imperative: "Go," Jesus said, and we ought to emulate the promptness with which the two disciples obeyed: They "went and did as Jesus had directed them" (v.6).

Notice the outcome of the disciples' obedience. The crowds followed Jesus shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" (v.9) Matthew wants his readers to understand that Jesus is honored and exalted when we obey his command to borrow donkeys.

Many in the Christian world would seek to justify their tragic neglect of this express command of Christ by postulating that it was a command only meant for the original disciples to obey. These interpreters forget that Jesus himself, just seven chapters later, instructs the disciples to teach new believers to observe all that he has commanded them (28:20). Consider a simple syllogism:

1. Jesus commanded the disciples to borrow a donkey.
2. Jesus instructed the disciples to teach Christians to observe all that he commanded them.
3. Ergo, Christians should observe Jesus's command to borrow a donkey.

It really couldn't be clearer. Pray about it.

Friday, January 21, 2011

God's Gift to Creation: A Redeemed People

Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars! . . . Let them praise the name of the Lord . . . He has raised up a horn for all his people, praise for all his saints, for the people of Israel who are near to him. Praise the Lord! (Psa. 148: 9, 13, 14)
Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it; shout, O depths of the earth; break forth into singing, O mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and will be glorified in Israel. (Isa. 44:23)
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
(Rom. 8:19-21)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
I'm becoming persuaded that world in John 3:16 means the fallen, futility-subjected creation order as a whole, which Paul speaks of in terms one would use to describe children on Christmas Eve, eagerly waiting for their gifts to be revealed. The creation, though, is waiting for something more glorious, namely, the revealing of the sons of God. God loved His world in a way that prompted Him to send his Son into it so that everyone who believes in His name will not be condemned, and for reasons I wish I understood more clearly, the trees are very excited about this.