The Lord Needs Them

20 “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

Matthew 8:20

That verse conveys the understanding that Jesus, the Son of God and the second member of the Holy Trinity, did not even have the everyday comforts of that time. Comforts people often took for granted then, just as they do today. But the problem is not the comforts we enjoy; after all, the Bible teaches that:

17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

James 1:17

The problem occurs if we allow those comforts to become more important to us than God, as with the rich young ruler who chose not to part with his material wealth and follow Jesus. Jesus denied Himself personal comforts just as He demands His disciples, you and me, to deny ourselves, pick up our crosses, and follow Him. 

“Does that mean we cannot have or enjoy personal comforts?” Not at all. God wants to bless us and have us enjoy His gifts. However, our comforts or possessions must never be held in a position higher than God. He is second to none… One true God.

In addition, notice that Jesus had to borrow a donkey’s colt because He did not have such worldly possessions. How sad it must be for Jesus to see people, even Christians, being so materialistic in the world today.

While staying with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, Jesus sent two of His disciples on a mission to retrieve a donkey and her colt in Jerusalem, and He gave them specific instructions. Jesus said:

2 …”Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with it. Untie them and bring them to Me. 3 And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them on immediately.”

Matthew 21:2-3

At first glance, it sounds like Jesus is telling two of His disciples to go into town and take someone’s donkey and colt without asking, and if someone does ask, they are to say, “The Lord needs them,” and at which time the man sends them on their way as if the Lord had intervened in the man’s free will.

However, since we know Jesus was without sin, He would never take something that belonged to someone else, setting aside the fact that all things belong to God anyway. In addition, God is a respecter of free will, meaning He will not impose His will on us; He gives us the privilege of choice. 

Therefore, what prompted the man to lend Jesus his animals?  Was the man one of Jesus’s followers? Did Jesus make a prior arrangement to borrow the animals? Since the man only knew what the two disciples told him, “The Lord needs them,” it strongly suggests he was one of Jesus’s followers because he knew who the Lord was.

How would we react if two Christians approached us and said the Lord requires one of our possessions? Many, if not all, would be dismissive of the idea, but here is the point: God, who dwells within every believer, gives us what we have because everything we have is to use for His purpose and glory.

So why did the man allow the two disciples to take the donkey and her colt after hearing, “The Lord needs them?” I suspect the man was faithful and knew the animals belonged to God in the first place and that they were simply on loan to him, under his temporary care, for a season. Everything we have belongs to God, including ourselves, which prompts the question: What are you willing to sacrifice for the Lord?

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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