He Needs You Now!

Though he didn't own a donkey, he could sit on both a donkey and a colt at the same time.  That's quite a feat.

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Jackson Snyder

March 23, 1997 upd March 23, 2002

 

 Jesus the Messiah: A Survey of the Life of Christ - Robert SteinMatthew 21:1-11 1. And when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, at the mount of Olives, then Yahshua sent two disciples, 2. saying to them, Go into the village over against you, and immediately ye will find an ass tied, and a colt with it; loose them and lead them to me. 3. And if any one say anything to you, ye shall say, Yahweh has need of them, and straightway he will send them. 4. But all this came to pass, that that might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophet, saying, 5. Say to the daughter of Zion, Behold thy King cometh to thee, meek, and mounted upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. 6. But the disciples, having gone and done as Yahshua had ordered them, 7. brought the ass and the colt and put their garments upon them, and he sat on them.

8. But a very great crowd strewed their own garments on the way, and others kept cutting down branches from the trees and strewing them on the way. 9. And the crowds who went before him and who followed cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed be he who comes in the name of Yahweh; hosanna in the highest. 10. And as he entered into Jerusalem, the whole city was moved, saying, Who is this? 11. And the crowds said, This is Yahshua the prophet who is from Nazareth of Galilee.


He Didn’t Have A Donkey

   Surprise! Yahshua didn't have a wife, a house, 2.3 kids, a yard dog, a retirement fund or a business suit. But Yahshua here has need of a donkey - in fact, the scripture tells us he needed two!

   Didn't the Son of Man descend from the glory of the Creator of the entire universe? Didn't he set the stars in their courses and rule in the fifth dimension? Didn't he have power over all sickness and disease? Didn't he rebuke the storm, catch a net full of fish, multiply loaves and find his gold in a fish's mouth? Didn't he outwit the greatest minds of his day? Why, of course he did.

   The paradox is that, though he had the potential to grasp all things, he didn't even have a donkey. What if Billy Graham didn't have a limousine or Kenneth Copeland a jet? Yahweh of glory doesn’t need the limo or jet: he just tells his men to get him a donkey.  His command carries expectation. He had no doubt at all that he will take possession. He speaks the word and he receives not one donkey, but two!  According to Matthew, he actually even sits on them both as he rides into Jerusalem.

   Why did he sit on both donkeys (at least in the figurative sense)? So that the people in Jerusalem could see Zechariah's words fulfilled before their eyes and rally to their King.  Riding these animals symbolizes Yahshua's identity as both Son of Man and Son of Yahweh. The Two have become One in Messiah, yet Messiah enters the city in silent strength rather than in military might. Such was a fitting entrance for one who came not to judge but to die. Still the incongruity remains: Yahshua had it all and needed nothing, still he had nothing and needed everything, including a donkey!

 

Offerings

   What did the multitude have to offer?  Well, they gave him their clothes.  In Yahshua’s time a poor person's clothing was of great value. To throw one's shirt or skirt into the muddy, manure-strewn road was a radical act of either waste or worship.  Garments were as good as money: money that could have been used for good, just wasted in the road.  But the devoted followers of Yahshua were resolved to give not their worthless closet accumulations or some pittance from their abundance; no, they gave the shirts off their backs.  Why? Because their Sovereign had need of them.

   They also offered their labor:  The climbed palm trees, cut the branches and waved them as a sign of homage and loyalty.  Such an act was reserved only for a King!  Tree trimming is dangerous work, yet they did this for no practical or economic reason, they didn't get paid a cent.  But their Sovereign had need for them to fulfill the Law (Leviticus 23:40) with palm branches, and so, they did.

   And they offered praise:  Although the people may have misunderstood Yahshua’s mission, they didn't misunderstand his identity. Since childhood, these folks were taught that, if and when they met the Savior, they were to lustily sing Psalm 118:"Hosanna in the highest, blessed is he who comes in the name of Yahweh!"

   We recite this phrase in our church services, also.  Does anyone God's Provision for the Death of Those Who Cannot Believerecall when specifically?  At Communion.  I don't think these people recited this blessing in the same respectful monotone we use. I think they were wild with praise, waving hands, shouting and jumping for joy. They were glad to pay homage and they meant it, for they recognized Yahshua on the donkey(s) and realized their time of visitation had come. Hailing him King was a very dangerous, illicit action. Yahshua wouldn’t have subjected his beloved to such exposure had he not a need for their praise.

   And they offered him their testimony to his identity as "King." When he made his entry into the city with such hubbub (so unlike his usual secret entries), some folks were perplexed, asking whom he might be. The people who loved him weren’t ashamed of the name of Yahshua like we are today. They cried out for everyone to hear, "This is the prophet Yahshua from Nazareth in Galilee," knowing that what they were doing might get them indicted, imprisoned and crucified.

 

Risky Worship

   Do you think Yahshua and the two thieves were the only men to be crucified by Rome?  Hardly!  There were tens of thousands of people crucified.  Why, Rome once crucified seven thousand Pharisees at one time!  There was a very real risk in aligning oneself with Yahshua.

   Did you hear about what happened in Islamabad, Pakistan, last Sunday  (March 17, 2002)?  Seventy people were in church near the US Embassy in one of the most highly police-patrolled streets in the world.  Al Qaida terrorists entered the church during the service hurling grenades, killing five worshipers, including two Americans, and wounding 42 others.  And this during church!

   Nasim, one of the Americans, was interviewed from her hospital bed, her body is peppered with shrapnel.  "I'm not angry. It's sad," she said.  "Last night I couldn't sleep, the night before I couldn't sleep. Every time I close my eyes I see it.  The girl that was killed was my friend. Just 10 minutes before she smiled at me."  

   A miracle did occur during that fateful, fatal worship service dedicated to Yahshua.  The children had just been dismissed for children’s church and were in the basement.  All of them were spared.

   This kind of horror is not unusual in our world.  It’s risky business to follow the Savior, yet true worshipers persist.  I just wonder if anyone would come to church in this country if there were danger.  Despite the menacing threat of crucifixion’s terror, these common folk flooded the streets of Bethphage anyway to worship Yahshua. 

   The people recognized Yahshua as the literal, personified fulfillment of the Word of G-d.  If the Messiah had come to teach the way of salvation and peace, then he would need their skills, commodities and testimonies. These commoners in turn freely offered their goods, their labor, their praise and their witness to make his entry through the door to his destiny a triumph.

 

The Mystery of Faith

   When we speak of triumph, we understand it in terms of what we call the mystery of the faith. 

   In the Communion, the Preacher says:

In remembrance of your mighty acts in Yahshua Messiah, we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving as a holy and living sacrifice, in union with Messiah's offering for us, as we proclaim the mystery of faith.

   The People say:

Messiah has died; Messiah is risen; Messiah will come again.

And that is the mystery of faith.  Repeat after me!  Messiah will come again in triumph!  Perhaps he’s already here somewhere, just waiting on the jet.  Are you ready to walk to Jerusalem to meet him?  To stand in the streets of Bethphage to welcome him home?  To take up the palms?

 

Appearing Soon!

   We’ve recently passed a certain point of no return; we’ve traversed the boundaries of a new millennium, one that belongs to the man on the donkey(s). All major Biblical prophecies concerning Yahshua’s return have been fulfilled but one, that being the final conflict that draws him into the fray with his hosts of saintly soldiers.  The prophet tells us about that “coming” in detail.  Here are a few excerpts:

Zechariah 14: 2.  For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered …; half of the city shall go into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

Why, that’s already happened.  Jerusalem’s been split that way since 1948. 

 3.  Then Yahweh will go forth and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. 

Zechariah - Visons and PropheciesThis is what this “war on terror” is all about.  It’s happening now.

 4.  On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives which lies before Jerusalem on the east … 9.  And Yahweh will become king over all the earth; on that day Yahweh will be one with his namesake. 

This whole story of the final battle and the coming of the great King begins five chapters earlier with these familiar verses:

Zechariah 9:9.  Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! … Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on an ass and on a colt the foal of an ass. 

He is a mighty king, but he is also a peacemaking king.  He makes peace by force, as in verse 10:

I will cut off the chariot and the war horse; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea to the ends of the earth. 

Does the number 9-1-1 hold any special meaning for us?  Chapter 9 verse 11 speaks to us:

As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your captives free … 

Redemption requires blood; this is also Passion, when we think about Yahshua’s death.  His blood has cleansed us from all sin and saved us from the ultimate bloodshed of war. 

   Today, Israel is in the grip of that war, more vulnerable to attack from outside than ever before.  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem and for the redemption of humanity!  Pray for the sure word of prophecy to be fulfilled in our lifetimes!  Pray for Messiah to bring peace!

   Yahshua clearly speaks of our days when he says: (Matthew 24){30} “All the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see 'the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven' with power and great glory.”   In the despondency of a true prophet, Yahshua asks himself, (Luke 18:8) "When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"

   In perilous times, the kind of faith that he desires to find is faith that works for peace. Faith that prepares the way for the second coming; faith that fulfills the will of Yahweh. Yes, Yahweh has need of you in these latter, prophetic days of Elijah, in the same way Yahweh had need of the people of Bethphage in those days.  When he appears, he'll not be riding asses of humility into Jerusalem, no way. This time

(Revelation 1:7) He is coming with clouds (of witnesses); every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be.

 But there will also be a multitude of people who will rejoice, says the prophet:

Revelation 7:9.  After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne with palm branches in their hands, 

  Friends, I want to be ready to walk in Jerusalem just like John (UMH 722), don’t you?

 

Stewardship

   Let us not be among those who wail in terror at the sight. In faith we’re commanded in love to prepare as those in Bethphage prepared.  They offered their goods and their labor to fulfill his need. We call the desire to make such offerings stewardship. The church offering is not a scheme to deprive folks of cash.  No, stewardship is the natural reaction of the human heart that has been touched by the divine spirit.  Friend, if the Living Savior has touched your life, don't you burn to give of yourself, of what's yours, including your time, to his cause? If not, your salvation isn’t that valuable to you.  You need a revival.  Maybe you need to be saved.  It’s through the mission of our church that we 'cast garments and palm fronds' into the sin-mired highways of this world in preparation for his return. Give everything you possibly can so that he’ll have money to clothe your nakedness when he returns.

   The folks at Bethphage also offered their praise and their witness to fulfill his need. We call such offerings evangelism; an evangelism that is vertical and horizontal - like the cross - between our Father and our brothers and sisters. It means worshiping a holy Elohim in spirit and truth, and sharing your goods and testimony of his loving kindness with people who don’t know him.

 

Buy In Now

   The smart move would be to begin welcoming Yahshua Messiah back, now that you know that he's really coming and coming soon. Buy in while stock in Yahshua is selling low, so when it soars, you will become rich in mercy. Surrender to his will for your life; give yourself over to him. Be diligent.  In whatever you do, do as though for him. Worship him freely: lift up your hearts. Tell somebody about the blessings he as bestowed on you. In these ways, you make his saddle, you spread your garments, you wave palms on the roadway, you herald the good news.

   Poet Martha Nicholson, triumphant over many years of hardship, writes about her hope of the coming of Yahweh in these touching words.

The best part of living is the blessed hope of his soon coming. How I ever lived before I grasped that wonderful truth, I do not know. How anyone lives without it these trying days I cannot imagine. Each morning I think, with a leap of the heart, "He may come today." And each evening, "When I awake I may be in glory." Each day must be lived as though it was to be my last, and there is so much to be done to purify myself and to set my house in order. I am on tiptoe with expectancy. There are no more gray days -- for they're all touched with color; no more dark days -- for the radiance of His coming is on the horizon; no more dull days, with glory just around the corner; and no more lonely days, with His footsteps coming ever nearer, and the thought that soon, soon, I shall see His blessed face and be forever through with pain and tears.