No Small Parts or Small Disciples


Today in my lectionary reading was the passage of Jesus’ Palm Sunday entry into Jerusalem (Matt 21:1-11). As I read and listened in Lectio Divina on this passage, I was drawn by the short pretext – a part that I tend to gloss over – that occurred before Jesus’ triumphal entry and the crowd’s shouts of “Hosanna!”

Jesus asked two of his disciples to go into the village and “borrow” a donkey and a colt from someone they probably didn’t know.

I don’t know about you, but I would have balked at doing this. “Are you serious, Jesus? They call that ‘stealing’ in some parts of this country! And I don’t even know these people. What will they think?” I would have also come up with some excuses and perhaps suggested another disciple to go in my place – you know, someone who has the spiritual gift of “borrowing.”

I’m not sure what those disciples were thinking when Jesus asked them this. Perhaps, there were some objections in their mind. Perhaps, they were used to Jesus’ odd requests and developed a deeper trust in his judgment. Maybe there were some cultural issues that made this request not as outrageous for them as it does for us.

In any case, they obeyed Jesus. And that is the bottom line.

It is interesting that the Evangelist included this pre-story into the larger story of Jesus’ final march into Jerusalem – the official kickoff to Christ’s Passion. On the surface, it seems like just another detail. Perhaps it served as a backstory to Matthew’s consistent desire to explain how Jesus fulfilled prophecy (in this case, Zechariah’s vision of the Messiah coming into the City as the gentle King). But I sense that there is another reason why this was included:

To show us that nothing the Lord asks us to do is “insignificant.”

Or as they say in show biz, “There is no such thing as a small part; just small actors.”

What seemed like a very small, odd thing to those disciples in that moment, was a very important piece to the most amazing redemptive work in history. Jesus included these unknown disciples (I bet it was Thaddeus and the “other Judas;” or maybe the “other Simon” or the “other James” – how would you like to be known as the “other so and so” disciple??) in His great Passion story. They got to help Jesus fulfill His mission.

There is no such thing as a small disciple; just obedience or disobedience.

So for us, it’s important to realize that when Christ asks us to do something that seems small or insignificant or odd or outside of our comfort zone or inconvenient, that it’s important to Him. We might not see it, but there’s so much we don’t see – that’s why it’s a walk of faith and trust: trust and obey.

In God’s eyes, there are no small parts. And there are no small disciples.

When was a time when God directed you to so do something that seemed small, but ended up being profoundly important?

What is Christ asking you to do today for Him? Do you feel resistance in what He asks of you? What helps you work through (and with) the resistance so that you come to a place of resolve and obedience?

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