Putting others first

Imagine for a moment a situation you may well have been in at some time. It could have been a key job interview that required a great deal of preparation with different presentations. It could have been preparations for a wedding. It could have been the waiting period before going into hospital for a major operation. It could have been moving house – indeed any number of things that preoccupied you to the extent that you could think of and focus on nothing else. Situations in which it was hard to focus on anything else and perhaps on anyone else.

The accounts the gospel writers give us of Holy Week make humbling and challenging reading and touch us in many ways but I just want to focus briefly on just  one, which at first sight would appear to be totally trivial and inconsequential but which I suggest tell us something special about our Saviour.

They are recorded for us by Luke as follows:

Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you and as you enter it you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it an bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it.’” Luke 19 vs 30-31

Then later in the week as the day of Passover came, when the disciples asked “Where do you want us to prepare for it” Jesus replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house he enters and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks; Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there.” Luke 22 vs. 10-12

You may think I am making too much of what appear to be relatively minor details but these same details lead me to reflect on the minute details that Jesus was concerned about as he faced the climatic end of the week before him. He had arranged the details of the colt in order that Zechariah’s prophecy might be fulfilled and he was deeply concerned for his disciples – that their final hours together might be private and special – hence his preplanning of the setting of the Passover meal. He thought of others in spite of what for any of us, would have been matters which totally absorbed us.

It is possible to argue  of course that the provision of the colt and the Passover Room  were ‘supernaturally’ arranged but I like to think that Jesus himself had gone out of his way to ‘arrange’ both. By so doing he demonstrated that even with his death looming, it was the Glory of God (in prophecy being fulfilled) and the blessing of others (in preparation of the Upper Room for that final intimate tine with his disciples) that were uppermost in his thinking.

Here he was showing, as the perfect man, what we should aspire to, namely, putting others even in the hour of greatest pressure, before self.

Thank you, Lord Jesus that you endured the Cross, despising the shame, for the joy that was set before you – the joy of gathering a redeemed people to your Father. And thank you that you did it for me. Grant that my response may bring glory to you in all I do. AMEN

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