28 When he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples 30 and said, “Go into the village ahead of you. As you enter it, you will find a young donkey tied there, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say this: ‘The Lord needs it.’” 32 So those who were sent left and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the young donkey, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the donkey?” 34 “The Lord needs it,” they said. 35 Then they brought it to Jesus, and after throwing their clothes on the donkey, they helped Jesus get on it. 36 As he was going along, they were spreading their clothes on the road. 37 Now he came near the path down the Mount of Olives, and the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles they had seen: 38 Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heaven! 39 Some of the Pharisees from the crowd told him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if they were to keep silent, the stones would cry out.”
Take a minute to get your phone out and see how many pictures you have. I have friends who have over 20,000. Our photographs are reminders of the significant people and places that are a part of our lives. Our pictures take us back to treasured moments. They help us remember.
Read through today’s passage once again. If you could have been there to take a few pictures, what would you want to remember? The donkey Jesus chose for his ride into Jerusalem stands out to me. Usually, we find Jesus walking along the road with a lot of people following along. Not this time. He’s going to ride a donkey into town. This little donkey has never been ridden, and now it will carry the weight of God’s Son. It’s as if it has been saved for that day and that time as a symbol of the new thing God is doing. This picture will remind me that God wants to do something new and different in me.
Even before this day on the donkey, Jesus talked about doing a new thing. I wish I could see the love on His face as Jesus talked about grace—when others only talked about obeying the rules. I wish I could see the intent in His eyes as He talked about praying in secret—when others were shouting their prayers on street corners. I wish I could see the set of His face as He talked about turning the other cheek—when people talked about killing Him. I wish I could see the tenderness of His hands as He healed lepers and blind men—when others barely noticed them. These are all pictures that would be on my list of favorites.
One look at the headlines today and we see the same kind of disturbance and division. We may even be part of it. Our world is not going to change because of different laws or regime changes or even by trying harder. Real transformation in our world begins with our hearts. You and I need a heart transplant.
Medically speaking, new hearts are costly. In 2017, the cost for a heart transplant was $1.4 million, according to Milliman Consulting. But a new heart isn’t possible without a donor, someone who has lost their life, someone who has paid the highest price. People don’t raise their hand and offer to do this. But make sure you take a picture of the man on the donkey. It will help you remember that Jesus raised His hand. He offered His heart.
Jesus voluntarily gave up His life so we could be forgiven and transformed. He will not hold our sins against us. He will walk with us for the rest of our lives. He will turn our sorrow into dancing and our tears into laughter. We will add many more treasured moments to our photos.
A donor has been found! How will you and I respond to such an offer?
“No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
Questions to Ask Yourself
- The most important question we will ever respond to is the offer of Jesus to give us a new heart. What is your answer? Whom do you trust to help you process this decision? Find a way to talk with that person.
- Our pictures tell a story of God’s faithfulness. Look back over the pictures you’ve taken in the last month. Find a quiet place to look through them and to thank the Lord for your family, friends, significant moments, meaningful places, etc. Use this time as a way to worship Him.
- What image of Jesus in the Gospels captures your heart?
- Take a picture of something or someone that represents a new thing Jesus is doing in your life and heart right now. Look at it regularly as a way to encourage you to keep moving toward this change.
Pray for the food pantry ministry at our Harpeth Heights campus, which has emerged as a vital and effective ministry during 2020. Pray for resources, wisdom in planning, and for the families served to connect with the church family.