Larry Roques

Larry Roques

The Pastor's Journal of House of Joy Church

ROAD TO REALITY

                 Road to Reality

                                    March 29, 2015

 

 

Matthew 21:1-11

 

Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.” All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ” So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Hosanna in the highest!” And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?” So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.” (Matthew 21:1-11 NKJV)

 

Since childhood, I have been amazed by the almost magnetic attraction created by parades. People for miles will amass what amounts to camping gear and stake out a place on the side of the road awaiting paper mache, glitter, trinkets and loud horns. They will endure extremes of weather and long waits joyfully in the advent of forty five minutes of make believe.

 

This is why when I read this passage of scripture,  I see the king of kings waiting at the edge of town with no plan, but to fulfill scripture...to begin his journey toward a destiny that will, in all appearance, not end well for him. He sends two of his team into town to obtain borrowed animals that will carry him along the route. He does not ride upon the adult donkey...but upon its foal...a young animal.

 

What happens upon Jesus arrival is mind boggling. The people of Jerusalem, desperate for a king, lay down garments and palm branches and cry out SAVE US!!! HOSANNA!!!  And when the parade was over...they had no idea who they had just encountered. But it was the beginning of an unfolding that would indeed be the salvation and deliverance of mankind. For you see, Jesus trek into Jerusalem that day was not simply a representative act for some calendar to mark one week before Easter...it was a significant event that set into motion the completion of a plan that had been spoken of by prophets for multiplied centuries...It wasn’t just a parade route....it was the Road to Reality.

 

 

Humility is the key to forgiveness

 

Matthew 18:1-5 NKJV

 

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. (Matthew 18:1-5 NKJV)

 

Of all of the impasses that man encounters in his life...none is greater than that of pride. All of sin routes in pride. It was pride that set Lucifer at odds with The God of heaven and ultimately led to his downfall. It was pride that Satan used against Adam in the garden that place the seed of doubt in his heart that he and Eve could be “as gods” themselves. It’s that thing that sparks a rebellious spirit in us to not hear the sound counsel of the Lord, but seek our own way.

 

Jesus came “lowly, sitting on a donkey”. It was not to provide shock value to the parade that day...it was to send a message that God “resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble”. (James 4:6, Proverbs 3:34). The minute the disciples figured out that they were in the presence of greatness, their first instinct was to begin bickering about who would be the greatest. Jesus was quick to reconcile that argument.

 

He told them that true greatness is reflected in humility. Jesus implies that the very act of conversion is tantamount to becoming as a little child in your heart. A child is gullible...faith filled...can be led easily. Adulthood brings with it competitiveness, arrogance, and bullheadedness. Which do you sound like?

 

 

 

Prepare ye the way of the Lord

 

Mark 1:1-11

 

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the Prophets: “Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.” “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.’ ” John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:1-11 NKJV)

John the Baptist was anything but a normal guy. He dressed funny...had some definite hygiene issues, but what John lacked in social graces, he made up for in zeal. Scripture tells us that when Mary the mother of Jesus visits Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist in Luke 1...that the yet to be born John the Baptist leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

 

How do you feel when you encounter Jesus? How does the thought of being in the presence of God strike you? How do you respond when encountering the presence of the Lord in worship? Does the spirit of God leap inside of you when you are near him? All of these things are precursors to being one who will prepare the way of the Lord. We have tried to make a science out of witnessing when Jesus never asked us to be His lawyer...he is ours. A witness is one who is placed upon the stand under oath and simply tells what he knows. Jesus saved my soul; he delivered me from a fate worse than death; he healed me; he made me whole and new. Preparing the way of the Lord is not rocket science. It is simply risking being seen by an enormously weird world as more weird than they are...

 

We cry for a savior so we must recognize him as he is.

 

Matthew 16:13-17

 

When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 16:13-17 NKJV)

 

 

The people along the road that day fell into two groups. There were those behind him who had been touched by Jesus. Those were the ones who had been healed of diseases and delivered of demons. Many of those were disciples. Then there were the towns’ people. They were the curious... the ones who had heard of Jesus from afar...and the ones who had some inkling of who this was in their midst. Still, one has to wonder how many of them were just there for the free parade.

The success of Jesus’ parade that day was not the issue. What was happening was a predetermined part of a plan hewn out of the heart of God himself. Jesus was entering Jerusalem one way...in humility. But he would leave on another road...on his way to be a true king leading his people out of bondage and eternal damnation. Most of the people there that day, had no idea of the greatness they encountered. Many of them left confused...perplexed...and wondering.

Here in Matthew 16, Jesus’ discourse with the disciples is kind of a       Q&A of how things are going. Jesus is out for some feedback on what the vibes are on the street. “Who do people say that I am?” is the question he poses to the disciples. And the answers are entertaining to say the least....Elijah...Jeremiah...even his cousin, Good ol’ John the Baptist. It is amazing to realize that as published as Jesus is in 21st century life, that so few people recognize him...or know the simple reason he came.

Jesus moves on....He places a poser to the disciples. “Who is it that YOU say that I am?” Peter responds, knowing what he has seen over the past times. He says... “You are the CHRIST (gk:Cristos, anointed one, Christ) the SON (gk:uihos...offspring, son,FOAL,) of the living (gk:Zao...quick...essence of life) God.

Isn’t it amazing that Jesus chose the foal to ride into town upon? Did you ever wonder what happened to the other donkey? According to Zechariah’s prophecy and Matthew...who of all of the accounts was the only one who was an actual Apostle.  The mother of the foal was there that day in the procession. Momma was there to comfort the baby...who had never been ridden before. Mary, Jesus mother who along with John and a few other faithful were the only ones left at the foot of the cross. Those who show up for the parade are rarely there for the cleanup.

Flesh and blood will never reveal to you what can only be revealed by the Holy Spirit.

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