WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
Have you ever felt like God was telling you to do something, but everyone else was questioning it?
I read a passage last night that resonated deep within me. Look at Mark 11 with me:
“Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.'” And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go. And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.”
Mark 11:1-11 ESV
My bible calls this passage “The Triumphal Entry.” I don’t think there’s a more fitting name. Jesus used that colt — that thing everyone else was questioning, that thing everyone thought the disciples were crazy for taking, that thing that confused everyone — to do something TRIUMPHANT. He took that colt and rode into the city, for the last time before the cross. Jesus rode that colt on the way to glorify God the Father through the Son’s death and resurrection. That colt was an accessory to God’s glory.
But, people questioned it.
If you’re like me, sometimes you’re so familiar with a biblical story that you miss important phrases until later—sometimes way later on in life. Such was the case for me with this passage. Look at Mark 11 again.
Jesus told the two disciples to go get a very specific colt that was supposedly going to be waiting for them in the village. He also told them people might ask why they were doing such. He even gave them a response to that question—because “The Lord has need of it.” Sounds like a pretty solid reason to me. So the disciples go into the village, and sure enough, there is the colt, all tied up and ready to go.
I want to stop here first. It doesn’t say anything about the disciples being the ones to ask questions. The two men Jesus sent didn’t voice any doubt. There is something to be said of that. Jesus asked something of them—he told them something was going to happen—and so they went and did what he asked. The Matthew account of this story says that “The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them.” (Matthew 21:6 ESV) Simple as that. Is there anybody else out there who wants faith like that?!
The other day I heard yet another sermon on the question, “Who Told You?” (referencing Genesis chapters 1-3) and again it struck a chord with me, but today I want to talk about a different question.
“What Are You Doing?” (Mark 11:5 ESV)
See, there will ALWAYS be people who question your actions. There will ALWAYS be people who don’t understand why in the world you are doing what you’re doing. There will always be people who don’t understand why you want to be a businessman/woman, or a doctor, or a teacher, or a lawyer, or a singer, or a mom/dad, or whatever it is in life you feel you’re supposed to be. There will always be people who don’t understand your calling. But that’s because it’s Your calling, not theirs. There will always be people who don’t understand what God told you, because that’s just it—He told YOU.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”
But we have to keep reading.
Verse 6 says, “And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go.”
They, the disciples, told them, the questioners (recognized in the Luke account of this story as the Owners of the colt), what Jesus said, and the questioners let the disciples go. The disciples said that they were acting on Jesus’ orders, and the questioners relented.
You see, there will always be someone in your life who questions what God told you He wants you to do. But if you are truly acting out what He’s asked of you, no silly human question can thwart that. Even the doubters eventually realize when they’ve picked the wrong fight.
WHAT. ARE. YOU. DOING.
We tend to let the questions of others superimpose our thoughts about ourselves. Sometimes when someone asks a question like “Who Told You?” or “What Are You Doing?” we immediately shrink down inside and retreat to some deep place, a place where we feel comfortable. But that’s a problem, because when God calls us to do something, He doesn’t say we’re going to be comfortable. Jesus didn’t tell the disciples, “hey I need you to go get that colt for me, and no one is going at look at you funny or think you’re crazy or anything, it’s going to be super easy!” NO!!! Because if that task had been easy, then it wouldn’t have had the same resounding impact. The retrieval of the colt had to be uncomfortable, just like our lives sometimes—because God doesn’t call believers to be comfortable, or always give us the easy way out. The disciples definitely did not have the easy way out. BUT note, they did have a way out. Jesus gave the disciples an answer to the doubters’ question, and The Lord’s authority prevailed. The owners relented and the disciples walked away, having completed the task set out for them by God. They had a hard task to walk through, but they had a way out at the end.
God wants us to help build His kingdom, and though He gives us a way out, sometimes that way is not easy. There will be people who doubt. And there will always be the question, “What Are You Doing?”
So, What ARE you doing?
Are you searching for what He’s asked of you? Have you gone looking in the village of your life for the colt of glory for His kingdom? Because if you are, no human being’s question has finality over your life. No question by another human will ever dictate your ultimate path. Only God has access to that. If we are actively pursuing the colt God has asked us to retrieve in our own lives, then we can rest confidently that while there will always be someone who questions, it is God who has the ultimate answer.
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Zechariah 9:9 ESV (emphasis added)
There’s a lot to be said about the colt itself in this story. (This could be its own blog.) To briefly summarize, first, Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a colt was the fulfillment of a prophecy (above, Zechariah 9:9), which would have been a significant thing to those Scribes and Pharisees present who would recognize that. This scene was also a demonstration of Jesus’ rightful Kingship, as the only people who traditionally rode into the city mounted on an animal were kings. The fact that Jesus stayed on the colt to enter is quite a symbolic—and triumphant—moment! As for the fact that the colt was unridden (a statement mentioned by Mark and Luke), this symbolizes sacrifice. Animals that were meant to be a sacrifice to God in those days were not used for anything else. (Aka, no one rode them.) So this unridden colt was meant to be a sacrifice for God, and ended up carrying the Ultimate sacrifice—Jesus—into the city where He would become that sacrifice. WOW.
There’s one more sweet thing as well. Jesus has authority over all creatures of the earth—the colt he rode on, and the humans he asked to fetch it. Jesus could have just used His authority to take the colt, because he did in fact have the authority to do that, but instead he chose to borrow it. Jesus had ownership over that colt, whether or not the earthly owner Luke mentions knew it. The amazing thing is, His authority is still shown through this—in how the disciples say that The Lord needs the colt and will return it soon, and the owners (questioners) immediately back down. Jesus’ authority is still recognized, and is not questioned any further.
“If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it…’”
So, I’ll leave you with this.
What are you doing?
Are you in the village, looking for the colt, completing the task your God has asked of you? Or are you in the village, questioning the authority of someone else’s task? Because ultimately, we can’t be in both places at once. We have to choose.
Goodness did I need this Word today.
If you want to hear this story from all three perspectives, follow these links 🙂
A song for today:
“If the wind goes where You send it, so will I…”