The AMI QT Devotionals from April 16-22 are written by Pastor Andrew Kim at Tapestry Church. Andrew, a graduate of Eternity Bible College, is currently attending Fuller Theological Seminary. He and Jessie were married in 2014
Devotional Thoughts for Today
Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples 2 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. 3 If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’” 4 And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. 5 And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6 And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go. 7 And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. 8 And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. 9 And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest! 11 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.
Growing up, I was the type of kid who would try anything. And I would always begin with much enthusiasm and excitement, whether it be learning a new sport or instrument. However, as time passed on, my commitment and passion for my new endeavors would quickly wane. It was because I began to realize what it actually meant to acquire these new skills—the hours of practice needed and the amount of focus necessary for improvement. I wanted fast results and it was not going to come easy, so I quit. And this happened over and over again. Looking back it is easy to see that initial excitement for something does not necessarily lead to a lifetime of commitment, nor is it a sign of real passion or love.
We find an example of this truth in our passage for today. Mark 11:1-11 is a dense section of Scripture, littered with messianic allusions, two of which are important to consider: First, as Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey, Jewish readers would see it as scriptural fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9, where the prophet proclaims the salvation of Israel that would be brought about by the coming of a humble king riding on a donkey. Second, it is important to notice that though Mark seldom mentions names of places throughout his Gospel, here he mentions the Mount of Olives. This location reminds readers of Ezekiel 11, where the glory of God departs the temple in Jerusalem and settles on the Mount of Olives. Many believed that the glory of God would return from the Mount of Olives and back to the temple. For this reason, Mark makes sure to point out that Jesus is descending from the Mount to the temple as a way of bringing to the forefront the very identity of Jesus as the return of God Himself. Both of these allusions emphatically point to Jesus as the coming Messiah, who is the God of Israel Himself.
In light of this, the people of Jerusalem rightly proclaim with much enthusiasm: “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” They were excited about the possible return of their Lord. However, as most of us know, within a matter of a week the very people celebrating the entrance of Jesus were the same people who wanted to crucify Him. You see, the people were expecting a particular kind of king that would lead them to swift victory over their enemies. However, Jesus redefined the nature of the kingdom. It was about loving their enemies and took the shape of the cross. As a result, the initial excitement and commitment to the movement of Christ waned and people began to leave.
Many of us also begin following Jesus with much excitement. We often have a picture of what discipleship is going to look like that fuels our enthusiasm. However, when God begins to bring us through the journey of transformation that is entirely unexpected and difficult, we begin to lose steam and even faith in the entire process. What we have to remember in moments like this is that discipleship means following the pattern of Christ—not one of easy triumph but one where life comes through death. For it is only through the dying of ourselves in discipleship that we find resurrection life. Today, even in the difficulty of discipleship, let us hold fast to Christ and remain steadfast in our commitment to Him.
Prayer: Father, thank You for calling me to follow You. I admit that at times it is difficult and sometimes the road You lead me on is not what I had expected. However, I pray for a steadfast commitment and trust in Your plans for me. Help me to faithfully follow You. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Thessalonians 1
Lunch Break Study
Read 2 Corinthians 4:7-12: But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Questions to Consider
- Why does God place His treasure in jars of clay?
- What does Paul mean that he is “always carrying in the body the death of Jesus?”
- What areas of discipleship do you find most difficult?
- God places the power of the gospel within broken people, like Paul and us, in order to show that the surpassing power belongs to God. The power is much more easily attributed to God if it is displayed through broken people.
- As Paul mentions in verse 8, he has gone through much. He has been crushed, afflicted, and struck down; in some sense, he is always dying. However, his suffering and constant dying to himself has resulted in bringing life to those around him through his ministry.
- Personal response.
We live in a culture where success is equated with the absence of discomfort or suffering. However, our discipleship to Christ calls us to die to ourselves and brings us into places of discomfort and suffering. In what areas of your life are you holding onto? Which parts of your life do you need to die to in order to experience the life of Christ?