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Mark 166 - Smart

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”

Mark 11:1-3[1]

Today, one of the best complements you can give is to say the word “smart.” Your kid is smart. Your grandchildren are smart. Your dog is smart. Your cat is smart. Your mongoose is smart. And if someone says that you’re smart, well that just makes your day.

We like to think of ourselves as smart. We can figure things out. We can figure anything out. Given enough information, we can explain anything. Answer any question. Solve any puzzle. Untie any knot.

And we use technology to make us smarter, or at least give the appearance of being smart. Who hasn’t seen someone Google a name, place, or word only to read it out loud to everyone? Their fast fingers and internet access lifts them up over us mere mortals, giving them almost infinate knowledge and insights.

After all, they have the total accumulated knowledge of mankind at their fingertips. Or do they? Yes, they do have access to lots of knowledge, but is it truth? Who records all that information? But more importantly, who checks it? And how do you know what’s there hasn’t been written or changed to support some specific position? Political party? View of people and life? And if you think I’m kidding, look up anything on Wikipedia and look at the Page History[2] to see how information has been changed over time.

In these few words, Jesus doesn’t let his disciples figure it out. He doesn’t assume that they can come up with a solution for how he’s going to Jerusalem. He doesn’t ask them a series of questions about the best way for him to travel either.

Instead, Jesus gives very specific instructions.

· Where – Just inside the village of Bethany.

· What – Unbroken colt, never been ridden.

· How – Untie and bring it.

· Who – Anyone asks, tell them the Lord needs it.

· When – Now and will return it shortly.

Yes, sometimes God leads us with open hands and open-ended questions. Sometimes he wants us to work out the problem together. To come to the solution together.

Come, let’s talk this over, says the Lord

· Isaiah 1:18, TLB

Sometimes, we’re given even greater freedom in solving one of life’s problems. There are times when faith intersects and impacts life.

Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling

Philippians 2:12

But the question is, how do we react when God gives us specific information and instructions? Do we take it as the gift that it is? Or do we push back, assuming that God thinks we’re not smart enough to figure it out? Not powerful enough to do it on our own?

How we react all comes down to our assumptions about who God is.

· Is he our dissatisfied boss, wanting more and more?

· Is he out to get us?

· Does he want to make us look stupid?

· Is his goal to embarrass us in some cosmic version of a sitcom?

This is not the God who created the heavens and the earth. This is not the God who personally came to this stinking little rock in a minor little solar system, on the outskirts of a relatively insignificant galaxy, in an unremarkable corner of the universe.

And why did he come? To seek us out and find us. To demonstrate his love for us. To take our well-deserved punishment on himself. To personally meet us as God, savior, great high priest, brother, and friend.

Of all the things that Jesus stands for and represents. it just blows my mind is that he identified with me. And he continues to identify with me. He’s not ashamed to call me his child.

Yes, he’s the God of all time. All power. All knowledge. All righteousness. But he’s also the God of all mercy. All compassion. All love.

When we know these things, and receive them as true, is when we truly become smart. And that’s worth more than all the knowledge that Google can contain.

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all Bible references are from the New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. [2]

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