BLINDERS

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MUSINGS

BLINDERS

Matthew 21:14-17
Blind and lame people came to him in the temple courtyard, and he healed them. When the chief priests and the scribes saw the amazing miracles he performed and the children shouting in the temple courtyard, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were irritated. They said to him, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” Jesus replied, “Yes, I do. Have you never read, ‘From the mouths of little children and infants, you have created praise’?” He left them and went out of the city to Bethany and spent the night there.

The chief priests and scribes saw the amazing miracles and healings that Jesus’s was doing and their takeaway was to be upset that the children were praising him. The priests’s ability to be negative in the sight of such amazing acts of power is incredible. It is as if they had blinders on.

Over the years I have read many theories that tried to use scientific explanations of biblical miracles. Or to just dismiss them as misdirection or slight of hand illusions.

Miracles are those times when the Creater of all the physical laws of the universe intervenes and for an instant changes those laws. However, if you have the blinders of preconceived ideas to cloud the way you view things, you will miss the miracles and only be irritated by the voices of praise.

Are you watching for miracles?

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TROUBLEMAKER

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MUSINGS

TROUBLEMAKER

Matthew 21:12-13
Jesus went into the temple courtyard and threw out everyone who was buying and selling there. He overturned the moneychangers’ tables and the chairs of those who sold pigeons. He told them, “Scripture says, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you’re turning it into a gathering place for thieves!”

Call the cops! There’s a madman in the temple! What if some madman came into your place of worship and threw the offering plate to the ground and scattered the donation envelopes and pledges cards all over the floor. And while he was doing this he was shouting insults at the pastoral staff, finance committee, head of worship, and board of trustees. What would you do? What would YOU do? What if the madman was Jesus?

He had no earthly authority to do this. As a matter of fact he had no EARTHLY authority to do any of the things the did. That was one of the sticking points with the rightful religious leaders. They asked, “Who told you that you could do this?”*

Back to the scene of chaos that Jesus was causing. It was the week leading to Passover, the holiest time of the year. People were flooding into Jerusalem from everywhere. And here was this largely unknown man upsetting the order of things.

We often forget that the Prince of Peace was a outlaw and rebellion leader. He wasn’t just overturning the merchant’s tables, he was attempting to overturn the whole society. “The first shall be last and the last shall be first,” upset everything. To claim to be God’s son or God the Son who had COMPLETE AUTHORITY over all the earth was a new and frightening revelation, especially to those who claimed power by right of birth or special training.

What righteous trouble have you made lately?

* Read Mark 11:27-28 And Luke 20:1-2

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NEITHER UP NOR DOWN

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MUSINGS

NEITHER UP NOR DOWN

Matthew 21:7-11
They brought the donkey and the colt and put their coats on them for Jesus to sit on. Most of the people spread their coats on the road. Others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowd that went ahead of him and that followed him was shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” When Jesus came into Jerusalem, the whole city was in an uproar. People were asking, “Who is this?” The crowd answered, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

What a spectacle that must have been that Sunday morning when people threw their coats and cloaks and palm branches in front of Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey.

Can you imagine people laying their coats on the road in front of the president’s limousine? How about for a well known and respected religious leader? Not likely is it? However by doing so for Jesus, the people were honoring him as king. Placing their cloaks on the ground before Jesus was an act of submission paid only to royalty. (See 2 Kings p:13-13)

I wonder who was the first person in the crowd to realize who it truly was riding on that young donkey? Who was the first to cast his cloak on the ground? The second? The third? At some point it became “the thing to do” and the crowd joined in. And still they asked, “Who is this?”

Human nature has not changed much over the years. There are a few who recognize Jesus for who he truly is and then there are those who join in and still don’t know who he is.

It’s sad to say but many in our churches are drawn by the spectacle. They sing the hymns and praises, mouthing the words without letting those words become a reality in their lives. They LISTEN to the worship leaders but never HEAR. They are neither hot nor cold,* neither in or out. I’m reminded of the song I sang as a child, ” when you’re up you’re up. When you’re down you’re down. But when you’re only halfway up, you’re neither up nor down.”

You can not stand in the doorway all your life. You can not claim Christ as savior and refuse tho also let him be your Lord and King. Either YOU rule your life or GOD rules. He will not accept less than full commitment.

*Revelation of John 3:15-16
(The Lord said) I know what you have done, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. But since you are lukewarm and not hot or cold, I’m going to spit you out of my mouth.

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THE DONKEYS LESSON

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MUSINGS

THE DONKEYS LESSON

Matthew 21:1-7
When they came near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples ahead of him. He said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you. You will find a donkey tied there and a colt with it. Untie them, and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them. That person will send them at once.” This happened so that what the prophet* had said came true: “Tell the people of Zion, ‘Your king is coming to you. He’s gentle, riding on a donkey, on a colt, a young pack animal.'” The disciples did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put their coats on them for Jesus to sit on.

I don’t know how many times I’ve read this passage and heard sermons on these words, “riding on a donkey, on a colt” and missed that it was the foal that Jesus rode, not the mother donkey. For that matter, I had missed the fact that the disciples brought them, both donkey and foal.

I understand the symbolism of Christ not riding in on a war horse but a donkey, a beast of burden. He came to Jerusalem not to drive out the Roman oppressors but to carry the burdens of his people.

The fact that it was a young colt, which had never been ridden,** means it was untrained in being ridden. It was both tied and accepted the costs on its back which indicates that it had some training because these things don’t come naturally to the animal. And carrying a person on its back would normally be a frightening experience for the creature.

Possibly you have seen movies or TV shows where they are “breaking” a bucking bronco. Climbing on the back of an untrained or even half trained animal is going to give you an exciting ride. However, there is no mention that the foal did anything but accept Jesus.

Thinking of this brought to mind Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Place my yoke over your shoulders, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble. Then you will find rest for yourselves because my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Jesus, who could calm the storm***, was able tho calm the creature because he was gentle and humble and his burden light.

Sad to say that donkey was smarter than I was. When I was first introduced to Jesus, I wasn’t trusting or accepting. I balked at shareing my load with him. I had many “close encounters” with the Lord and always shied away. However, he was patient and forgiving when I needed his forgiveness. I learned to trust and accept him. Have you? If not, NOW is the time to let him calm your troubled spirit. Let him lift your burden. He has already forgiven you (Luke 23:34) all you need to do is accept that forgiveness. Learn from the foal and me. Accept him now.

*Zechariah 9:9-11

**Mark 11:2

***Luke 8:22-25

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FOLLOWING

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MUSINGS

FOLLOWING

Matthew 20:29-34
As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed Jesus. Two blind men were sitting by the road. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” The crowd told them to be quiet. But they shouted even louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. They told him, “Lord, we want you to give us our eyesight back.” Jesus felt sorry for them, so he touched their eyes. Their sight was restored at once, and they followed him.

This section begins with a crowd following Jesus and ends with two more followers. Jesus had hundreds, maybe thousands*, of followers. Among those followers there were many disciples**, and then there were the twelve apostles.

There are so meant ways to discribe these people and their relationship to Jesus.

  • The difination of follower: an adherent or devotee of a particular person, cause, or activity.
  • The difination of disciple: a personal follower of Jesus.
  • The difination of apostle: any important Christian teacher, a successful Christian missionary in a country or to a people.

There is not really a difination of a non follower. However the opposite of follower is defined as: apostate, defector, renegade, traitor, turncoat.

Everyone in the world, in their relationship to Jesus, is by difination belongs to one of these groups. Where are you? Where do you choose to be?

*Matthew 15:32-39, Mark 8:1-13, Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:31-44; Luke 9:12-17; and John 6:1-14

**Luke 10:1-23

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THAT SEAT IS ALREADY TAKEN

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MUSINGS

THAT SEAT IS ALREADY TAKEN

Matthew 20:20-28
Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her two sons. She bowed down in front of him to ask him for a favor. “What do you want?” he asked her. She said to him, “Promise that one of my sons will sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” Jesus replied, “You don’t realize what you’re asking. Can you drink the cup that I’m going to drink?” “We can,” they told him. Jesus said to them, “You will drink my cup. But I don’t have the authority to grant you a seat at my right or left. My Father has already prepared these positions for certain people.” When the other ten apostles heard about this, they were irritated with the two brothers. Jesus called the apostles and said, “You know that the rulers of nations have absolute power over people and their officials have absolute authority over people. But that’s not the way it’s going to be among you. Whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant. Whoever wants to be most important among you will be your slave. It’s the same way with the Son of Man. He didn’t come so that others could serve him. He came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many people.”

The most shocking thing to me isn’t Jesus’s, “Whoever wants to be most important among you will be your slave” teaching. He’s made the “first will be last” point many times and mangy ways. No the thing that I find find truly amazing is the timing of the request. In both the gosples of Mark and Matthew the request for special places of honor, power, and glory come right on the heels of Jesus telling his closest friends that he is about to be brutalized and murdered.

How thoughtless and callous could they be? And the other disciples are no better. Instead of being angry with James and John, they begin to argue for their own worthiness for those positions. All of them thought that they deserved special appointments in the coming kingdom. Jesus knocks the winds from their sails by first saying that those seats have already been assigned by God, and then making it clear that their whole concept of their place and function in the kingdom is upside down and backward.

As I’m writing this we have just celebrated Resurrection Sunday (Easter). And we came to church dressed in bright colors and sang joyful hymns. But remember Jesus didn’t make it to Sunday morning without going through the pain and humiliation of crucifixion on Friday. He was the perfect example of servanthood and slavery. He gave his own life and blood for us. And all he asked (and still asks) is that we be willing to do the same for each other.

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PLAINLY SPEAKING

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MUSINGS

PLAINLY SPEAKING

Matthew 20:17-19
When Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, he took the twelve apostles aside and said to them privately, “We’re going to Jerusalem. There the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and scribes. They will condemn him to death and hand him over to foreigners. They will make fun of him, whip him, and crucify him. But on the third day he will be brought back to life.”

I can picture this in my mind. It was a beautiful spring day. The sun was shining and the birds were singing. Wildflowers were blooming and the world seemed fresh and clean. Passover was near so Jesus and the disciples were walking toward Jerusalem. They were walking and talking about many things, as men do. Perhaps they were discussing the last parable Jesus had told. Or maybe they were discussing more worldly things such as fishing, women, food, money, family, or other things.

Jesus stepped to the side of the road and said, “Huddle up, men, I’ve got something important to tell you. I know that you are all looking forward to spending Passover with family and friends. But before that happens, I will be tortured and killed. But three days later I will rise from the dead.”

Probably his friends were experiencing many things like shock, disbelief, worry, grief, denial, and more.

Put yourself in their sandals for a minute. If you didn’t know about Resurrection Sunday, what would you have thought and felt about what Jesus had just said? How do you feel now that you know he arose?

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