Advent Devotion for Saturday, December 7

By Larry Armbruster

Read Matthew 21:1-11.

Right before Palm Sunday and Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, He sends two of his disciples to find a donkey and her colt. It isn’t clear if  Jesus fully explained everything at that time, or if He simply asked the disciples to get the animals.  I can only imagine that the disciples were a bit confounded by Jesus’ request.

Even more, I am sure they were astounded when Jesus told them that if anyone asked, they were to respond that the Lord needed the animals. The disciples probably had their doubts. Would the owner really give up his property? What if he didn’t do as Jesus said he would? Did Jesus know this man?  Did this man know Jesus?  The disciples showed obedience and faith in simply following the Lord’s command.

After they brought the donkey and colt back to Jesus, he rode into Jerusalem for his Palm Sunday entrance. The disciples probably had an “aha” moment when all of this came together, as well as many questions–when did Jesus know this all was to take place, and what did it mean?

Earlier Jesus had spoken for the third time of His upcoming death. It must have been confusing for the disciples: Jesus just spoke about His death in Jerusalem and yet this crowd is treating Him as a king.  Could Jesus have been wrong about His prediction?  Does Jesus really have to die for us?

Ultimately it was a whipsaw of an emotional week for the disciples: Jesus’ prediction of His death, the triumphal entry, the celebration of Passover, Jesus’ crucifixion and death and His resurrection.  This week was beyond the disciples’ expectations in how they were tested and what they experienced, and in what Jesus endured, all to pay for all our sins and earn salvation for us.

Yet, it all started with a baby in a manger, because nobody had room for Him.  The greatest Christmas gift ever, wrapped in swaddling cloths.  Given to each and every one of us to open, so we may experience the joy of forgiveness and salvation.  This gift is truly beyond our expectations.

We pray: Heavenly Father, we thank You for this free and precious gift of forgiveness of sins and salvation that You have given us through the suffering and death of Your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ.  Help us as we share the message of Christmas to those around us.  In Your name we pray.  Amen.