Going Deeper With The Sermon

Speaker: Rev. Dr. Marnie Crumpler
Date: April 10, 2017
Text: Red Letter Jesus: Go and Find a Donkey





Text: Matthew 21:1-11

Sermon date: April 9, 2017


21 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, "Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord needs them,' and he will send them at once." 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

5 "Say to the daughter of Zion,

'Behold, your king is coming to you,

    humble, and mounted on a donkey,

    on a colt,[a] the foal of a beast of burden.'"

6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. 8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, "Who is this?" 11 And the crowds said, "This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee."

To begin:

Pray and ask for the Holy Spirit to help and to speak in the moments you have together; ask that we would all have hears to hear what the Spirit might say through the scripture. Pray the words of Psalm 119:17--"Open our eyes that we might see wonderful things in your Law."

Have one or two in the group read the text aloud, encouraging all to read silently and listen prayerfully. After the reading offer a moment of general response asking (1) What details of the story resonate with you or stand out to you? (2) What questions does the story raise in your mind?


1.  Jesus gives two disciples a word of instruction as they make their approach to Jerusalem. If you had been one of those two disciples, what would your response have been to his instruction? What would your conversation have been like as you followed what Jesus said to do?

2. What is Matthew trying to show his readers by quoting the words of Zechariah 9:9?

3. Use the footnotes in your Bible, a study Bible, or biblegateway.com to look at the phrases the crowds shouted as Jesus made his way to Jerusalem. Talk about related scriptures and what these words might have meant to the people.

4.  Do you see a tension between the words of Zechariah and the shouts of the crowd?

5. In v. 10 there is a question about Jesus' identity. What do you notice about the response given in v. 11? How does this compare with our first "Red Letter" session (see Matt. 16:13-18).    


1. Jesus gives an unusual but clear instruction in vv. 2-3. What kinds of things make it hard for us to be obedient to what Jesus has plainly said? Compare Prov. 3:5-6.

2. Maybe there's some ordinary thing in your life that "the Lord has need of?" What might that be?

3.  Do we ever get caught up in the enthusiasms of the crowds around us? What would you have thought of a Rabbi riding a donkey? 

4. Do we still place certain "expectations" on Jesus? What were they in this story? what are they in our lives?