“When He had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples, saying, ‘Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’’ So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them. But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, ‘Why are you loosing the colt?’ And they said, ‘The Lord has need of him.’ Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him. And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road. Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying:
‘‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD!’
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’’
And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, ‘Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.’ But He answered and said to them, ‘I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.’”
Today’s Scripture passage records an episode that occurred while Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem to be nailed to the Cross. When Jesus reached Bethany, He said to His disciples, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’” Having heard this, the disciples went to the village and did what Jesus asked them to do.
When the disciples of Jesus went to the village opposite to them, they indeed saw a colt tied. In those days, colts were usually tied down to a peg in the backyard. The disciples began to untie the colt without telling its owner, as though it were theirs. If anyone did something like this nowadays, it would surely be a crime and he would be arrested. Of course, in those days also such an act was stealing. Jesus knew this very well, but He had still asked the disciples to do this.
Having thus untied the colt, the disciples of Jesus brought it to Him. They then took off their clothes and put them on the back of the colt to be used as a saddle, and they set Jesus on it. And as the colt began to walk, many people spread their clothes on the road, and it entered Jerusalem with Jesus riding on its back.
A colt is an animal destined to carry loads throughout its entire lifetime. But Jesus had told the disciples to untie the tied colt, and when it was brought to Him, He rode on its back. The fact that the Lord rode this colt, whose destiny was to carry cargo, is itself a significant event. It was the colt’s fate to carry heavy loads everyday, but because Jesus had it united and rode it, the colt happened to carry the holy and precious Jesus, and as it entered Jerusalem with Jesus on its back, it received tremendous welcome together with Jesus.
Many people at that time welcomed Jesus when they saw Him entering Jerusalem on a colt. However, the Pharisees said to the Lord, “Rebuke Your disciples.” The Lord then replied to them, “If these should be keep silent, the stone would immediately cry out.” The reason why Jesus entered Jerusalem in today’s Scripture passage was actually to be judged and crucified in Jerusalem. The Lord’s entrance to Jerusalem took place as the consequence of the fact that He was baptized by John the Baptist, and it was a stepping stone to accomplish all His ministry by dying and rising from the dead again in three days. In other words, Jesus entered Jerusalem to open the gates of Heaven by completing His ministry that had begun with His baptism.
But the crowd didn’t know what was to happen. That’s why, when our Lord rode the colt into Jerusalem, His disciples were very sad, but the crowd there, who all wanted to see Jesus, praised the Lord, shouting out, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” They were so happy to receive Jesus that the colt carrying the Lord must have been very surprised. Perhaps it thought to itself, “Wow! When I was tied down in my owner’s place, people used to kick me for no reason and beat me as though I were a punching bag. But now that I am carrying Jesus, they are taking off their clothes and spreading them before me, and laying down fragrant branches. What’s more, they are even bowing down before me!”
How Triumphant Must This Colt Have Been?
With so many people welcoming Jesus so enthusiastically, the colt must have felt quite triumphant, as though it deserved to be welcomed. It was just walking with Jesus on its back, but the people were so glad to receive it, and so it must have felt very happy. The colt probably was very surprised, thinking to itself, “Is this real or am I dreaming? I can’t believe so many people are so glad to see me. The people that I used to know didn’t even feed me that well, and they used to whip me or kick me whenever they saw me. Why are these people then welcoming me so enthusiastically?” If the colt were smart, it would have realized that it was being glorified because of Jesus; if not, it would have run out to the field after carrying Jesus into Jerusalem and gone berserk, thinking that it was all his doing. Anyways, when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the colt was very happy, and so was Jesus.
Maybe you are wondering here what relevance this passage has for us. But the Lord still wants to give us a very profound lesson through this passage. My fellow believers, as you can see here, the colt carrying Jesus was greatly glorified because of the Lord. From this passage, we need to think about the relationship between the colt and Jesus, and how the colt was able to receive such glory. In other words, we need to ponder here what this passage is telling us.
From the very birth, every colt is born destined to carry loads for the rest of its life. After thus being exploited for its entire lifetime, it is discarded as a useless animal once it is injured or falls ill. It is then slaughtered and its skin is used to make leather products. Since the donkey is born to be used by people, it has to accept its destiny even if it is harsh. That is the fate of every donkey. The donkey born on this earth is destined to carry loads whether it likes it or not, and it is born as an animal to serve human beings. It’s the donkey’s fate to serve human beings by carrying their loads for them.
If it is the colt’s destiny to carry loads, what is the fate of human beings? The same is true for us human beings. We, too, were born destined to serve someone and something in our lives. Just as it is the donkey’s destiny is to be a possession of its owner and carry loads for all of its life to serve him, it is our human destiny to belong to someone, either to God or someone else. We must realize clearly here that everyone is destined to belong to either God or someone else, and to live his entire lifetime for his master.
Although the people of this world may seem like free beings, in reality, they are bound by others and tied down to the world. So unless there is some change, everyone must live the rest of his life in this world serving someone else. Even though people think that they are living according to their own free will, in reality, most people are bound by the world, dragged to wherever the world leads them and serving someone else until their death. This fate is not reserved for a particular group of people, but it is the destiny imposed on everyone in the world. Almost all people live and perish without being freed from this yoke.
How is our human fate any different from that of the donkey? All its life the donkey has to work to serve its owner, and even when it dies, it has to offer its everything to its owner, including its flesh and skin. For those who have not been born again, their lives are no different from this life of the donkey. It is a great delusion for anyone to think that he is living by his own free will when he is in fact not living as a free being before God. My fellow believers, through today’s Scripture passage, God is telling us that the fate of mankind is the same as the fate of the donkey. The colt in today’s Scripture passage is an analogy referring to none other than yourself.
Once Born on This Earth, You and I Are Destined to Be Bound by Somewhat
Our Lord said, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’” All of us are to be tied to someone; the only difference is whether we are bound by God or someone else. Fundamentally, it was our fate to be bound by this world, to be subjugated to another human being, and to toil away for the rest of our lives till death. All of us were imprisoned in such a fate only to perish in the end, but one day, our Lord set us free. The Lord had commanded to untie us from our bondage to the world and bring us to Him.
And to those who ask, “Why are you untying them and taking them away?” the Lord told His servants to say, “The Lord will use them.” Our Lord, the Master of all creation, had compassion on us when He saw how we were living in the bondage of this world that He had created, and so He set us completely free. When the Lord told the disciples to untie and bring the colt that was tied down but not used yet, He was saying that He wants to set us free for His use, and the unsullied souls that are bound by the world but still have not been tainted by it.
Born on this earth, you and I must serve either God or someone else. We can’t serve both at the same time, but only one; and when we were born, we were fundamentally bound by the world. Before being born again, all of us were bound by our sins and enslaved to this world. Throughout our lives we had been tied to the basic necessities of clothing, food, and housing, we had been seized by the fear of death, we had been worried about aging and illnesses, and we had yearned for worldly glory and other such things. Our lives had been tied to such worries and concerns. Obsessed only with the prosperity of our own flesh, we had struggled to ensure it in our lives, worrying to ourselves, “How can I keep my health? How can I live long? How can I become rich? How can I avoid falling sick?” Even though we had tried to resolve these issues, in reality these things became our shackles to tighten the noose around us even more.
Think about it. How can anyone living in this world not be attached to these issues? Eventually, people recognize that they cannot escape from such bondages, and so they accept them as their fate and are bound by this world, trying to make the most out of it. Like this, it’s inevitably for everyone to be used by someone else unless he is used by God, and anyone who does not abide in God cannot help but be forever bound by the world.
Our Lord Has Saved You and Me from the Bondage of All Sins
“I will use you,” said the Lord when He released us from our bondage to the world. Among those who were released for the Lord’s use, some were used prior to the others, and some were trained to be used more appropriately. When the Lord uses us, He doesn’t just use us as we are. Since He cannot use those who are sinful, He lets them receive the remission of sins first. He then trains and nurtures them once they are released from their sins, so that they may be used perfectly. In other words, this means that if people want to be used by the Lord, they must first of all believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and be born again as God’s people. Only the righteous who are born again of water and the Spirit are used by the Lord as His precious instruments rather than by man. Now, as you and I have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we have to think about where we would be used, and what our prior destiny was.
What was then our fundamental fate on this earth? Whether we liked it or not, it was our unavoidable fate to be bound by men for our entire lifetime and serve them as their slaves until our death. Even though none of us wants to accept this, all of us cannot help but accept it because we were actually born with such a fate. Do you admit this, my fellow believers?
In a democratic society, people say, “I am a free person.” I also know that this is what all of you want to become. However, although everyone wants to be free, in reality, there is no one in this world who is truly free. In particular, everyone’s soul is invariably to be tied to one thing or another, and therefore it is all the more impossible for anyone to be free. It’s just that we didn’t realize it ourselves even as we were subjugated to other human beings and the world from our birth to live as its slaves. Yet the Lord has called such people like us.
This is precisely the issue that you and I must be aware of. In other words, even though at the beginning we were in bondage just like the colt in today’s Scripture passage, we must be freed by the Lord to be used as His precious instruments. How about you then? Will you be used by the Lord as His precious instrument, like the colt that was used by the Lord? Or will you continue to be bound by others in slavery to be used by them as their slave? If you are not used by the Lord, then it is appointed for you to be used by the people of the world for sure, for every human being is destined to be used in one way or another. As such, we must ask ourselves without fail whether we would be slaves to the world or be used by the Lord instead. If you don’t ask this fundamental question and put away your decision, then regardless of what your actual intention may be, this can only mean that you’ve decided to be a slave to the world. You should never allow yourself to be such a foolish beast that runs off the cliff without even realizing its own impending destruction.
Although there were countless colts in the world, all the other colts except the one in today’s Scripture passage were worthless animals. Only the colt that was used by the Lord and carried Him on its back was worthy. A donkey is destined to carry heavy loads for all its life, and to be either slaughtered or abandoned when it gets too old or sick to be of any use. However, the colt in today’s Scripture passage, which had never carried anyone on its back, was especially chosen by the Lord for His use. Had the Lord not called it, the colt would have spent all its life carrying heavy loads, but its life was changed in a moment thanks to the Lord.
In the old days, donkeys were common means of transportation, carrying heavy loads through difficult terrains. And the stuff they carried was not just the usual bags and loads, but it included even human waste. There were people whose job was to remove and carry human waste, and they often used a donkey for this job. They would collect the waste in containers and strap them on the donkey, and the donkey would carry them on its back. No matter how heavy and how foul smelling the load was, it was the donkey’s fate to endure it all, and it had no choice but to carry the load.
Sometimes the donkey had to carry urine, a task that was more difficult than carrying solid waste, since it moved and splashed around while the donkey was on the move. So it was harder for the donkey to balance its load, but it had no choice, for it was its fate to finish its day’s work no matter how difficult and dirty it was. On such days the donkey had to be extra careful with its steps, as it could end up soaked in urine if it stumbled and fell into a pit.
Other times, the donkey carried a full load of decomposing manure. A cart was usually used for such occasions, since there was a limit to how much the donkey could carry on its back. Other heavy loads, such as grain and salt, were also moved relying on this method. The cart would be loaded to full capacity, to be pulled by a donkey or an ox. Some days the donkey had to pull such a heavy cart not just on a flat path but also on an uphill road. It was so heavy and difficult that the donkey’s legs would shake. And it wasn’t as though the road conditions were good in those days. If it had to pull the cart through a rough terrain or an uphill road, that day could very easily be its last day, either beaten to death by the owner or dying of exhaustion. When the load was too heavy for the donkey to take another step forward, the owner would whip it mercilessly from behind to force it to move. Sometimes, when this didn’t work, the owner might push the cart from behind, but the donkey might still not be able to move forward if it was too exhausted. It would then invariably be whipped again, and foaming at its mouth, the donkey may even die on that day.
It was fortunate if the donkey could somehow climb up the hill even if it was whipped. I remember an episode from my childhood when I saw a donkey struggling to climb up a rough hill, and how it couldn’t move forward despite being whipped mercilessly. While witnessing this, I suddenly heard something snapping, and the donkey just collapsed at the spot. The donkey’s leg had snapped while it was trying to climb up the hill at the prodding of the ownership’s whip. If the donkey had met a good owner, he might have fixed its leg, but most owners would have just sent it to a slaughter housing, thinking, “A donkey is supposed to carry stuff, and so I’d rather just buy a new donkey that can do a better job of carrying the load than fixing a donkey with a broken leg.” In this way, I saw the end of a donkey’s life.
Like this, such animals as a donkey, an ox, or a horse always have to carry a load throughout their entire lifetime, whether it is carrying people, grains, human waste, or urine. That’s because it is their appointed fate as livestock to carry loads all their lives.
What about you and me then? We, too, have had to carry the burden of man all our lives. From the day we are born to the day we die of old age and sickness, we have to carry someone else’s load. We have to carry the load for our children, for our parents, and for the world. There is no end to this. If a donkey had carried human waste today, it had to carry urine tomorrow; and if it had carried rice today, it had to carry wheat tomorrow and barley the next day. Just like this donkey, we’ve also had to continue to carry one type of load or another. In reality, a donkey carries the load in order to be fed. So to use the donkey more efficiently, the owner puts a muzzle on the donkey, lest it grazes in the field on its way. That’s because the owner thinks that if the donkey were allowed to graze freely, it would get lazy, since its belly would be filled even if the owner does not feed it. So the donkey can’t eat but only see the field filled with grass. The donkey has to work even harder to be fed by the owner, for the owner would never feed it if it doesn’t finish its job.
My fellow believers, we humans are actually the same as such donkeys. Unless we work, we can never feed ourselves. No one can sustain his livelihood unless he works at a job and makes money. Donkeys and human beings are the same. They are both equally stubborn, they both have to carry a load, they both work all their lives until death, and they both live and die in vain. This is the fate of all human beings who are bound by the world rather than belonging to God. Their fate is the same as that of a donkey.
Just like a donkey, human beings also work all their lives to sustain their livelihood. So in childhood, when you are under the protection and care of your parents, is the most comfortable time. But once you attend college, you are already worried about finding a job, wondering, “What should I do to make my burden lighter and make more money? What should I do to make a living in this tough world?” It’s an agony to think about such questions.
The four years at college pass by in no time. You must then actually find a job and make a living for yourself. When you are hired by a company, you have to change yourself to fit into the company. You have to do whatever your boss tells you to do; if you make any mistake, you have to put up with all kinds of insulting rebukes from your boss; and if you don’t finish your work in the office, you have to bring it to home and work on it all night long. What happens if the result of even such hard work is not good enough? You have to put up with your boss throwing documents and hurling insults at you. When the boss tells you to prepare the report all over again, you have swallow your pride, apologize to him, pick up the documents, and get back to work.
What is it that you gain from all this work, throwing away all your pride and self-respect? It’s a month’s wage. Put differently, all you get is your daily bread. You make barely enough money to last for a month. And you have to work again to earn enough to make a living for the next month. When viewed in this light, all the people laboring in this world are essentially taking a month’s advanced payment to make a living. In the end, everyone must live like this throughout the entire lifetime, as though he were in debt. Such is our existence as human beings.
However, our Lord has set us completely free from such a hopeless world, saying, “Loose the colt and bring it to Me, and I will use it.” With the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Lord has blotted out all the sins of ours, who had been living bound by the world. In other words, even though we could not avoid but live as slaves to the world, the Lord has now made it possible for us to serve Him by remitting away all our sins.
What thoughts come to our minds, as we read here about the colt that was used by God? We are confronted with the following important issues: “Now that we’ve been born again, by whom should we really be used? It’s inevitable for us to be used, but by whom? Who is our Master? Whom should we serve as our Master in our lives? Should we serve Jesus as our Master or someone else?”
My fellow believers, what will happen if we serve Jesus in our lives? When the colt here entered Jerusalem, it was glorified together with the Lord and praised by people, singing, “Hosanna! Hosanna! Praise the Lord!” Like this colt, we will also enter Jerusalem with Jesus and enjoy great glory. The colt was still a colt, but it was glorified because it had carried Jesus on its back. Even though the colt was destined to carry human waste all its life, it was praised and glorified when the Lord chose to ride it; and this colt refers to none other than us the righteous who, having been born again through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, are now living for God. Just like the colt here, we the righteous, who have been born again of water and the Spirit, are now carrying Jesus on our backs, and we are living a glorious life thanks to Him.
By one reason alone, that we have been born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, it was made possible for us to be released from the world and carry Jesus; and because we are carrying Jesus, we are able to live to obtain glory rather than living from day to day constantly worried about what to eat and what to drink. Now, we are no longer bound by the world to serve others in our lives, but we are living for God who made us and saved us. In short, our wretched destiny has been replaced by a splendid glory. Just how worthy is this new fate of ours, that we the born-again righteous can now live for God? Can carrying human waste even be compared to carrying Jesus? Just as the colt was glorified because it carried Jesus, it is also because we are serving and carrying Jesus that we are able to live the rest of our lives for a truly worthy cause. Just like this colt, our destiny has changed to enter the heavenly Jerusalem on the last day and receive endless applauses and glory, and this fact shows how we’ve put on a glorious splendor.
We must realize exactly what our Lord is saying to us through today’s Scripture passage. In other words, we must grasp what our load is. God has saved you and me through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and therefore, if the Lord is now calling us to use us, we must answer this call with the right disposition and faith. On the verge of destruction, our Lord has called us, saved us, and changed our path. All that we have to do is just follow His guidance, set our minds by faith, and answer God’s calling.
The Very Fact That We Are Used by God Is Such a Glorious Joy
Even though all of us were originally born destined to carry filthy excrements all our lives, we have now been born again through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and we have received the Lord’s calling, so that we would be able to serve Him, do His work, and carry His burden. Just as the colt here entered Jerusalem with the Lord and received tremendous praise and glory, we the born-again also met the moment when our destiny was changed, and we have been called by the Lord, saying, “I will use you.” As the Lord has released us from the ties that bind us to the world in order to use us, we have now fully become the people of God. What a precious blessing it is!
By any chance, is there anyone among you who does not realize or admit that he was born with the same destiny as that of a donkey? Are you thinking to yourself, “I am a human being, not a colt. I am a free person, bound by nothing.” Even though all of us are human beings, all of us were also born with the fate of a donkey. And it is everyone’s destiny to be tied down to something and serve someone. Take a look at yourself. Are you not struggling with the affairs of the world everyday, living from day to day to placate your worldly worries and anxieties, and to satisfy your greed? None other than this is our self-portrait as those living bound by the world.
Where, then, do you want to belong, and for whom do you want to live? Do you want to be bound by the world to be faithful to someone else in your life? Belonging to another human being is accepting a filthy and painful fate, like a colt carrying waste. If you had any choice, wouldn’t you rather carry the precious burden of Jesus instead? If it is our unavoidable fate to carry some type of load, then the life that’s bound to the Lord rather than man and the world, and that’s led as the Lord’s instrument to serve God and His gospel, is a far more glorious, fulfilling, and worthier life than any other life. If we are bound to the Lord, we are used for Him every day, and that is why it is the most glorious life.
It’s imperative for you to realize fully where you are bound, and where you are being used. If the Lord is using you, then this is a tremendous blessing, far more precious than what you realize now. A porter is a porter, but the status of a royal porter is completely different from that of a common porter. Although all of us humans were born with the same fate as porters in God’s sight, we the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit have been born again into honored porters carrying the King’s load. In other words, even though we are still porters like everyone else, we have been called as such distinguished, royal porters. However, although some people have answered this calling, others do not even realize that they have been called, and they still think mistakenly that being bound to the Lord is bondage, saying, “I don’t want to be bound. I am a free person.”
My fellow believers, you must grasp here that it is everyone’s destiny to carry a load regardless of what it may be. As long as we are alive, all of us must work, whatever it may be. Moreover, everyone must serve either man or God so long as he is alive. If we don’t do the work of God, then we must do the work of man. Since none of us is dead but we are all alive, we must work and serve regardless of what and who. My fellow believers, do you realize that you were born with the fate of a donkey? And do you believe so? Are you not all donkeys? Yes, you and I alike are all clearly just like a donkey.
Perhaps some of you are wondering, “We are all human beings, and so why is Pastor Jong comparing us to a donkey, a lowly animal?” However, the reality is that if we humans live bound by the world, we will actually end up being treated even worse than an animal. It is then all the more imperative for us to realize, admit, and believe that just as the Word of God says, we were born with the same destiny as that of a donkey. It won’t then be so upsetting to hear that we are like a colt. If we now admit and believe that our destiny is like that of a donkey, the only remaining issue is whom we will carry on our backs. Will you carry human waste all your life? Will you carry urine? Will you carry firewood? Will you carry bags of grain? Or will you carry the Lord, the King of all kings? That’s the only remaining issue.
In today’s Scripture passage, the Lord told the disciples to bring a colt that had never carried anyone. Like this, in the case of human beings as well, the happiest are those who are called by the Lord when they have not been tainted by the world yet—that is, when they are still very young. And those who are called by the Lord right after being saved are even happier. I am not speaking of physical age here, but I am referring to spiritual rebirth. God cannot use those who have lost their innocence tainted by the world and who have come to God for an ulterior motive. In other words, anyone who has come into the Church dreaming of his own fleshly ambition and glory, and hoping to exalt himself, is not someone who is fit to be used by the Lord, for he is already carrying someone else on his back other than the Lord. Although all of us are donkeys that must carry one type of load or another, now that we’ve received the remission of sins, we must all realize our destiny and never set our purpose on anywhere else but the Lord. Though we are the same donkeys, whether we are used by God or someone else determines the value of our lives.
If we have been born again and called by the Lord, then this itself is a tremendous blessing. Moreover, even though we are donkeys, if we are able to carry Jesus and His burden, then our fate as donkeys is better than that of any priceless horse in this world. Think about it. Isn’t a colt carrying Jesus, the King of kings, far more appealing than a horse that’s carrying a rich butcher? None other than we are such donkeys. I ask you to never forget the fact that you and I, who are now abiding in the Church for the righteousness of God after being born again of water and the Spirit, are donkeys carrying precious Jesus. It’s a great blessing that a colt, destined to carry heavy loads all its life, is able to carry the priceless load called Jesus.
Do you wish to carry the burden of Jesus or the burden of man? I am sure that all the born-again believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit desire to carry Jesus’ burden. If you know that you were born with the destiny to carry burden all your life, then you now know that the desire to carry out the work of Jesus is the right desire.
However, many Christians are still leading their lives of faith without realizing this fact. So they are wavering back and forth, sometimes bound to Jesus and other times to the world, and they feel it’s too much burden to carry Jesus’ load. But what will happen if you cast aside Jesus’ load? You will return to your wretched past life. Even worse, you may find yourself in even a worse situation than before, having to carry not only waste and urine but also bags upon bags of grain. Having piled up a mountain of firewood, the world is waiting for you to forsake the Lord. It is tempting you and waiting for you to once again pick up the burden of the world and live together with it. The world is always waiting for the first chance to use you, saying to you, “Come and carry my load for the rest of your life!” It is absolutely not to treat you well that the world is waiting for you. Far from it, it is waiting to enslave you and me, to strap waste, urine, and bags of grain on us. If you are still reluctant to carry Jesus’ burden even after being born again, then the world will impose its filthy yoke on you in no time to make you carry the burden of this world.
My fellow believers, what kind of life do you want to lead? I am sure that you all want to live a worthy life to serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit for the Lord and save souls by preaching the gospel throughout the whole world, rather than committing sin in the world and living just for yourself.
To tempt you, the world has all kinds of burdens ready at its disposal, always waiting for you to fall into its trap. Anyone who is not carrying the burden of Jesus can never escape from these burdens of the world, just as a donkey cannot escape from the bondage of its owner on its own. After being used to carry all kinds of loads, when the donkey is no longer useful, it will be dragged to the slaughterhouse to be killed. And even after death, its flesh, skin, and even bones will be used for someone else. Let’s then leave this wretched fate to those who do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and who have therefore not been born again. For us the born-again, it is imperative to carry the Lord’s burden rather than the burden of the world.
In today’s Scripture passage, the Lord told His disciples to loose a bound colt and bring it to Him. Likewise, we had also been living everyday thinking that it was only natural for us to be bound by the bondage of the world, but the Lord came to us and freed us from this yoke, and He made it possible for us to become precious donkeys living for the Lord.
A while ago, I happened to watch a historical drama on TV. This drama was about the kings that ruled during the era of the Later Three Kingdoms in Korea’s history. All these kings had the ambition to expand their territories and rule over a great kingdom. Legitimizing their own ambition as though it were a great cause, they had gathered together similarly motivated followers and were unafraid to wage war to fulfill their ambition. I also saw how these kings maintained their relationships on a bloody and risky tightrope, where today’s allies turned into tomorrow’s enemies. As they were slaves to their sole ambition to become the ruler of a great kingdom, they did not hesitate to commit murder, wage war, and betray their own friends. Their entire lives were led as slaves to their carnal ambition to become a great emperor.
Yet these people didn’t even realize that they were enslaved by their own ambition, and having hypnotized themselves into believing that they were pursuing a great cause, they could not trust anyone but were always suspicious. In Korea, kings wore a royal robe embroidered with the elaborate images of a dragon, and many royal articles were also engraved with dragon images. The word dragon featured prominently in the words used to describe the king as well. For instance, when referring to the king’s face, it was expressed as “dragon face.” Also the throne was referred to “dragon seat.” But in the Word of God, the word dragon, like the word serpent, is a word used to describe Satan. So when we look at how Koreans in the past revered and worshiped dragons, we can see just how completely they were bound by Satan.
Of course, now as before, anyone who does not belong to Jesus is living as a slave to the Devil, as it is written, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others” (Ephesians 2:1-3). Here, “the prince of the power of the air” refers to Satan, that is, the dragon or the serpent of old (Revelation 20:2).
While people were seized by the dragon—that is, the Devil—and enslaved to the world, sometimes they were conscious of this even if only vaguely, and they tried to be freed from the bondage of their burning lust. However, they could not help but continue to carry the burden of the world in their lives. This was the same not only for those of us living in the present age, but also for those living in the ancient times of the Later Three Kingdoms. The common people in that age suffered a great deal under slavery and forced labor. They had no choice but to live in that way because they could not achieve anything no matter how hard they tried to be freed from the bondage of the flesh. This is unavoidable for every human life until one believes in Jesus Christ’s gospel of the water and the Spirit that has saved him perfectly.
My fellow believers, what would have happened to us if we had not met the Lord? Tied down for the rest of our lives to our worldly responsibilities such as job, family, and social relations, as well as to our own value system, ideology, and greed, we would have been destined to continue to live as slaves to the world. To be freed all at once from the bondage of the world that is tying you down in a tangle of sins, blemishes, insufficiencies, and greed, there is no other way but to believe in the baptism of Jesus Christ and His death on the Cross. Because the Lord accepted all our sins, blemishes, and carnal insufficiencies through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, by believing in this, we can pass our sins and insufficiencies to the Lord all at once through His baptism, and we can solve them through His atoning sacrifice on the Cross. Living by faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit is our indispensable duty and the greatest blessing as well. The Lord has changed our destiny at once.
No matter how anyone might shout out that he is a free person, every human being is destined to be bound to either the world or the Lord, and serve one of them. In other words, everyone invariably belongs to one of them. There is no one truly free in this world, no matter how anyone claims so. If anyone has not been born again, neither carrying the Lord nor spreading the gospel in his life, then by nature this person is tied down to the world. When the Lord came to this earth, He did not just save us, but He removed us from this world and placed us elsewhere to serve Him.
And even now, the Lord is calling us. He is saying, “Loose the colt that’s tied down and bring it to Me.” If the Lord says that He will use us, then all we have to do is just answer His calling by faith and surrender ourselves for His use. Perhaps some of you may say, when the Lord says that He will use you, “Lord, is this absolutely necessary? I’d like to live with freedom. Why do You want to use me? I wish You would just leave me alone.” However, my fellow believers, remember that so long as we were born in this world, we must belong to somewhere clearly and be used for some purpose. Before, you were destined to be used by the world for Satan and his wicked purposes, but now the Lord is offering to change your life into a blessed one that’s led for the Lord, for other souls. So what a great opportunity is this? So I admonish you to willingly surrender yourself to the Lord. Such people are the truly wise ones.
What Will You Do If the Lord Calls You for His Use?
When this happens, will you answer or reject His call? I am sure that everyone here will answer the Lord’s call. But maybe there are a couple of people who might say, “No, I don’t want to. Now that I’ve been saved, I want to live my own life. I want to build a picture-perfect house on the green field and live the rest of my life with my loved ones. I want to plant the seed in the spring, see the flowers blossom in the summer, harvest in the fall, and be happy and content in the winter.” Although this may seem like a small and simple wish, if you reject the Lord’s calling like this, you will only have filthy and heavy burdens waiting for you. That’s because once born in this world, everyone must be tied down somewhere. It doesn’t matter whether you live with your loved one or anyone else, for this will not change your fundamental fate to carry a burden.
If it’s your unavoidable destiny to carry a burden in your life, then it’s as clear as the broad daylight that you would be better off to take up the precious burden of the Lord. You will be glorified if you carry the Lord’s load. Even though you may sometimes face hardship, the Lord will take care of you, for you are carrying His burden. He will give you the ability, strength, and wisdom to live for the Lord, and He will take care of all your circumstances for this to come about. In contrast, what will happen if you take up the burden of man or of your own lust instead of the Lord’s load? This burden of greed will weigh heavily on you, and one day it will kill you. Such burdens, whether they are of greed, of the world, or of your loved ones, will oppress you and strangle you to death. So what you will do then?
When the Lord says that He wants to use you, when He commands you to be untied and brought to Him, you must think by faith and decide by faith. You must give Him the right answer, saying, “Lord, since I am destined to carry burden all my life, I will carry Your burden.” Like this, we must make the right judgment and have the right faith. Unless you have such sound judgment, your life will be ruined. Since you and I are colts, wouldn’t we be really happy only when we are carrying the Lord on our backs?
I, too, used to carry the burden of man in the past. Let me tell you an episode from the days when I was attending seminary. One day, on my way back from school, I saw a log beached on the shore. Seeing this, I thought to myself, “It would be great to take that log home and use it for heating.” At that time, I was holding my school bag on one hand, and a bag of rice on the other hand. So I put the bag of rice on top of my head, and I carried the log on my freed hand. In those days my house was heated by a fire furnace, and that’s why when I saw the log, the very first thought that came to my mind was how wonderful it would be to take the log home and burn it for heating.
As I made my way to home with one hand carrying my school bag and the other hand a log, not to mention a bag of rice on my head, the neighbors laughed at me. But I didn’t care; all that I wanted was to carry everything home without dropping anything. My sole desire was to take care of my own family, to protect my loved ones and provide for their needs, for serving my parents and my family was serving myself. That’s because when they were happy and content, I, too, was happy and content.
However, now that I think about it, this contentment was not a lasting one. Instead, it was an ephemeral contentment to disappear shortly, just as the fire furnace emits heat only for a few hours and cools down. My point here is that having to work all day long just for some short-lasting warmth is exactly what carrying the burden of the world is all about.
In those days, I had learnt and memorized the Five Points of Calvinism, and so my sermons were often based on them. However, such sermons were ultimately incapable of saving anyone, and instead they only left my congregation in their sinful state even as they professed to believe in Jesus every day. Moreover, in my denomination, the longer one had been a Christian, the more sinful he became, and it was this sinner that was highly respected. Whenever I prayed before the congregation, “Lord, we are grave sinners. So, when You call sinners, call us also. This sinner has prayed in the name of Jesus Christ,” everyone responded with amen.
Before God, each of us must make the individual decision as to what we will carry as a colt. Those who are wise would have already made the decision, whereas those who are slow and foolish would not have understood the Word of God yet, and therefore they would be thinking and saying something else. To get the message across to them, I would have to speak to them repeatedly for two, three more hours. Only then will they realize what I am trying to say to them and understand today’s message, saying, “Ah! This message is ultimately directed at me.”
My fellow believers, since we were all already born with the fate of a donkey, let us carry the righteous burden of the Lord rather than the burden of the world. Since there is nothing we can do to change this, we might as well live a happy life together with the Lord. If you still don’t want to carry the Lord’s burden, then you will have no choice but to carry waste. But I am full of confidence and hope that all of you who have heard the lesson from today’s Scripture passage will become glorified donkeys carrying the Lord’s burden. The Lord is saying to you now, “Be freed from your sins by faith, come to Me, and take up My burden, for through My water and blood I have taken away all your sins and blemishes that had bound your heart.”
If the Lord says that He will release you from the world and use you, all that you have to do is just say yes. I admonish you, first of all, to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, receive the remission of sins into your heart, and then participate in this work of spreading the gospel all over the world for the Lord.
Believe that this will make your life the most blessed one. I give all thanks to the Lord for calling us and using us for His precious work. And I hope and pray that our Lord will call all of you without any exception, and thus make it possible for you all to be used for this precious work of the Lord.