Imagine you were walking down Main Street and came upon a car with its keys in the ignition. You get in the car and turn the key. The owner of the car, startled, sees what you are doing and cries out, “Stop!” You respond, “God needs it.” How far do you think you would get till you heard the police car siren?
Similar is the scene prior to Jesus’ procession into Jerusalem. Jesus sends out two of his disciples to a town ahead of them. He tells them exactly where to find a colt (Mark 11:2) and what to say when people ask them why they are taking it, “The Lord needs it and will send it back here (Mark 11:3).” However, instead of hearing the siren of the Palestine police, their answer satisfies. They freely take the colt.
Scholars debate how Jesus did this. Did Jesus prearrange it? Did he go to that village previously and make these arrangements? Was the password, “The Lord needs it?” Or, did Jesus do this through his almighty power? Was this divine intervention? While scholars may debate, it does not matter because the gospel writers did not deem it important to tell us. For them, what was important was not how Jesus did it, but that he did it.
This has tremendous importance for us. Put yourself in the disciples shoes. Jesus already told you thrice that he was going to Jerusalem to die. Each time you could not fathom what he meant. This procurement of a colt would have befuddled you all the same. The events of Passion Week would have seemed utter confusion and chaos to you. Yet, weeks later – after Jesus’ betrayal and crucifixion, his death and resurrection, and his great commission and ascension – you would have realized that Jesus was in control all along.
Today we are befuddled by a global pandemic. Everyone is commenting. Some advice offered gives insight; however, by and large none of us completely understands what is going on. This is amateur hour for the world. From our perspective things seem out of control. Or, as Woody Allen put it, in his recently released autobiography, the results of the “malignant chaos of a purposeless universe.” But, this is not the perspective of the Palm Sunday account.
Though the disciples would only realize it with hindsight, the precured colt symbolized Jesus deliberate wielding of those seemingly chaotic events. Even when everything around them seemed out of control, he was in control.
Jesus remains in control of the world today. He is in control of your life today, no matter how chaotic things seem or how difficult they get.