Isn't That Our Horse?

November 28, 2014

John Edgerton

The disciples who were sent to Bethany departed and found the colt just as Jesus had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, "Why are you untying the colt?" They said, "The Lord needs it." - Luke 19:28-40

These have got to be the politest horse-theft victims in history.  

"Yes, hi, excuse me, could you please explain why you are stealing our horse?"

Rules like "don't work on the Sabbath" or "don't touch people who are unclean" start changing with Jesus around.  Jesus had a different set of rules, rules like "love God" and "love your neighbor" and "go get me that horse."  With Jesus around, we have to decide what rules really matter, and which ones to give up.

The disciples are used to this sort of thing by now. But for these folks from Bethany, Jesus' coming along and changing the rules was tough.  They were out one perfectly good horse—they hadn't even ridden it yet! Zero miles on the horse-dometer!

With Jesus around, churches have to decide which rules matter.  You might need to break the endowment spending rule, refit the kitchen and start a food ministry. You might need to change the set-in-stone, eternal-ever-since-1985, worship start time to accommodate the Spanish-speaking congregation outgrowing your church basement. You might need to designate gender-neutral bathrooms for trans-teens because using the bathroom should always be safe and never an ordeal. With Jesus around, rules start changing, and great things happen.

So if you're tempted to grumble about how the rules have always worked fine, remember those folks from Bethany.  Imagine them opening Monday's Jerusalem Times and wondering, "hey…isn't that our horse"?


God, take what we have, shake it up, and use it for something great.

About the Author
John Edgerton is Associate Pastor at Old South Church in Boston, Massachusetts.

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