Intractable


John 12:12–19
12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, 15“Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” 16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. 17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”

Our story arrives at what is now called “Holy Week”. The movement of Jesus into Jerusalem for the final week of His life begins with that famous parade of one Man on the back of a donkey colt, being lauded and praised by the people who have watched His ministry with fascination. Even in this event, Old Testament prophecy is fulfilled.

Zechariah 9:9
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

The Pharisees knew the Old Testament inside and out. They would have been completely aware of this prophecy from Zechariah and Jesus’ fulfillment of this prophecy would not have been lost on them. And yet they hold onto their hatred for Him with both hands. Instead of recognizing Jesus as the Lord and Messiah the Pharisees viciously hold onto their own power base and seek His death in earnest.

One cannot help but marvel at the tenacious hold the Pharisees have on their social status and lifestyle. Instead of shaking my head in amazement, perhaps I should look at my own life and see what I hold onto as tightly. Where am I intractable? We all have our issues and it serves us well to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal them and teach us how to deal with them. It’s easy to look at these murderous Pharisees with derision. But that is not really helpful and doesn’t serve to grow our faith and dependence on God. Instead, we do well to look inside and see what the Spirit is pointing out in our character that needs attention. It can be a painful process but mature believers are willing to submit to such rigors.

I still have much to learn and God has drawn me to a newer, quieter place. It’s time to hold less tenaciously onto my own ideas and give other people a little space to breathe and think. God deals with each of us differently. What might be even more difficult is when people take the time to point to my flaws. That tends to solicit the same response Jesus got from the Pharisees; anger, defensiveness, and denial. But that serves no purpose in my life and most certainly doesn’t fit into God’s plan. Instead, let their voice perhaps be God’s voice in your ears. You never know who He might use to get your attention.

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