Connections 04.14.2019: From the Colt’s Journal

Luke 19:28-40

Nobody asked me if I wanted to participate. But I was used to such treatment.

I was hanging out, munching some grain, minding my own business, when two fellows came along and took me. They had a discussion with my owners about what was going on, but it didn’t last long. They seemed fine with my going.

Then the two men led me away. I went. What choice did I have?

After a short walk, we came upon a group of people. The two men led me into the midst of the group. We stopped. I glanced around. The people were excitedly talking to each other.

Another man walked up to me. He was different, but I can’t really explain how. He looked into my eyes and stroked my nose. His eyes were sad, but he smiled at me. Then he put his arms around my neck and hugged me. As he did, he whispered in my ear, “Thank you for your help.”

Nobody had ever thanked me before. I dipped my head and swished my tail. He chuckled as he stroked my nose again.

Some of the other men took their cloaks off and threw them across my back. I liked the warmth. Then they lifted the man who thanked me and set him on my back.

I didn’t mind. In fact, I was happy. I was glad to carry him. He patted me as I started walking.

Nobody had asked me if I wanted to help. But now I did. It was my honor. It was my privilege. I walked slowly. I wanted to give him a gentle ride.

I tried my best to look dignified as we followed the path down the mountain. People called out to him. They shouted and celebrated. Such noise and activity usually make me nervous, but that didn’t happen this time.

After a while he dismounted. He took my head in his hands. “Thank you,” he said. “You carried me with integrity. You meant every step.”

His smile was sad. He looked around, listening. He whispered, “They think they mean every word.”

“You’d like to carry me the rest of the way, wouldn’t you?” he asked. I nodded. I may have even brayed, softly I hope. I wanted to tell him that what I really wanted was to take him away from there. I sensed that would be best.

“I’m afraid I have to go the rest of the way alone,” he said.

We both looked around at the crowd of people. They still shouted and waved.

He walked away from me.

He was surrounded by people.

And he was alone.

Discussion

  • Jesus has been “going up to Jerusalem” (v. 28) since 9:51. Why does Luke give so much space to Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem?
  • Why do you think Jesus planned to ride a colt into Jerusalem? Why was it important to him?
  • Jesus’ followers praised God “for all the deeds of power they had seen” (v. 37). What kind of deeds had they seen? Why did they praise God for them?
  • Jesus said that if his followers didn’t shout praises because of him, the stones would (v. 40). What would it say about us if the rocks had to praise God for Jesus?
  • How can we best praise God for who Jesus is and what he has done, is doing, and will do? How can we show that our words of praise really mean something?

Reference Shelf

The disciples “put Jesus upon the colt,” and the story takes a turn from the prophetic toward the royal. Lifting him onto the animal and spreading their cloaks on the road are both indications of respect (see 2 Kgs 9:13, where cloaks on the ground honor the new king), and their hymn of praise celebrates him as the Coming One, the King: “Blessed in the name of the Lord is the Coming One, the King.” Yet there are indications that Luke does not regard “king” as an unambiguous title for Jesus. In Mark’s text, “those going before and those following” call Jesus king; Luke restricts this to disciples, giving the impression of a smaller-scale event. The royal acclamation also reinforces Jesus’ status as prophet, since he predicted that Jerusalem would not see him until they said, “Blessed in the Lord’s name is the Coming One” (13:35). When the disciples sing, “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest,” they echo the angels who announced his birth in a manger, far from the emperor’s palace. When they call him “the Coming One,” they are echoing John the Baptist, who said Jesus would baptize with Holy Spirit and fire (3:16)—a Coming Prophet, not a Coming King. Yes, God has given Jesus a kingdom (22:29), but it is one in which the youngest and the slaves are most important. This Coming One has now arrived, ready to offer peace (2:14) and glory (2:32).

Richard B. Vinson, Luke, Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary (Macon GA: Smyth & Helwys, 2008).

Michael Ruffin is husband to Debra, father to Joshua (Michelle) and Sara (Benjamin), grandfather to Sullivan and Isabella. A graduate of Mercer University and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, he has previously served as a pastor and as a university professor. He lives on the Ruffin Family Farm in Yatesville, Georgia. He is the Connections Series Curriculum Editor.

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