1 Now when they drew near Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples;
2 and He said to them, “Go into the village opposite you; and as soon as you have entered it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has sat. Loose it and bring it.
3 And if anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it,’ and immediately he will send it here.”
4 So they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door outside on the street, and they loosed it.
5 But some of those who stood there said to them, “What are you doing, loosing the colt?”
6 And they spoke to them just as Jesus had commanded. So they let them go.
7 Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their clothes on it, and He sat on it.
8 And many spread their clothes on the road, and others cut down leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
9 Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna! ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’
10 Blessed is the kingdom of our father David That comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
11 And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve.
12 Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry.
13 And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.
14 In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard it.
15 So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.
16 And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple.
17 Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL NATIONS’ ? But you have made it a ‘DEN OF THIEVES.'”
18 And the scribes and chief priests heard it and sought how they might destroy Him; for they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His teaching.
19 When evening had come, He went out of the city.
20 Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.
21 And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.”
22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.
23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.
24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.
26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
27 Then they came again to Jerusalem. And as He was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came to Him.
28 And they said to Him, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority to do these things?”
29 But Jesus answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one question; then answer Me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things:
30 The baptism of John—was it from heaven or from men? Answer Me.”
31 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’
32 But if we say, ‘From men’ “—they feared the people, for all counted John to have been a prophet indeed.
33 So they answered and said to Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus answered and said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
The praise of the One who comes in the name of the Lord will not be limited to the elite and popularly accepted worship outlets. It will come, though, from those who, at the simplest, most basic level, are expressing with joy, full adoration for the King Himself and not some production that packages Him just right. I love the organic eruption of praise from the common folk, and Jesus’ obedience in humbly participating in such a beautiful donkey-riding procession.
From such an apparent acceptance of informality in worship, Jesus went right to revealing righteous indignation for any dishonor of God’s things. When what God has established is diverted for another purpose, He displays something quite different than His demeanor on the donkey. In the midst of enjoying a transparent experience of unadorned worship, there still must be a rigid adherence to the holiness, purity, and order of the place to which we’ve been given access in Christ.
In the practiced fixation on the completed work of Jesus’ sacrifice, there is the development of a faith that truly believes in what was won for us there – complete authority over any earthly realm. What is spoken from this revelation will come with the power to curse and move anything in a way that doesn’t bring harm. Believing in this way, though, includes clear acceptance of the grace that enables and activates this power in our words. It is not something we come by in any way other than the mercy and forgiveness of God. Mountain-moving belief is coupled together with belief in forgiveness that continually seats us there in authority. Operating in that authority is impossible without participating in the forgiveness it relies upon.
Living and moving in the authority we’ve been given will come with an understanding that produces an unplanned, but powerful response to the naysayers and doubters. The Spirit of the Lord will inspire and embolden a response that will effectively silence the questioning.