Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Choose Christ rather than cluelessness.

When I was growing up one of the highlights of the year took place every September. We were all euphoric when the Davidson County Agricultural Fair rolled into town. As a kid I liked the rides and the cotton candy and candy apples. As a teenager and young adult, I enjoyed the fair because it was a “meet market.” There were girls everywhere on those fair grounds.

After my first year in college I arrived at the Davidson County Agricultural Fair, no longer a skinny, wet-behind-the-ears teenager, but a sophisticated man of the world. My buddy and I met there and immediately began the prowl for women. It didn’t take long to find some. A couple of girls who were mere freshmen back when we were seniors in high school were there and somehow my friend managed to get them to go into the fun house with us. The two girls were light years apart in their personalities and intellects. My buddy, of course, was after the ditsy blond. She was sweet and pretty, but not the sharpest tool in the shed. It was my responsibility, therefore, to go after the friend. She was a lovely brunette. Unlike her friend, she was exceedingly intelligent and a straight-A student.

Get this picture in your mind. The four of us go into the fun house. Blondie is in front with my buddy behind her. Brunette is next with me immediately behind her. As we’re walking along my friend does what all men and boys must do when it’s dark, scary and there’s a girl around. He yelled “Boo!” to which ditsy blond screamed. It was a sure sign that he was making progress with her. I decided that if it worked for him might work for me too, so not five seconds later I launched my loud “Boo!” Sure enough, brunette screamed too. But it was the most unsatisfying scream I’d ever heard. There was no real emotion behind it. Something inside me said, “She’s pretending.” I thought, “How pathetic!”

She was being intentionally stupid. This brilliant girl was acting completely out of character because she wanted something … a relationship with me, sophisticated man of the world. Isn’t it interesting that people will be clueless on purpose to get what they want?

They also do it if there’s something they want to avoid. Have you ever been pulled over by a policeman and they came to your door and said, “Sir or Ma’am, do you know why I’ve pulled you over?” Even if we know we say, “No.” Or he’ll ask, “Sir or Ma’am, do you know how fast you were going? Do you know what the speed limit is here?” Even if we know, usually we say, “No.” I’ve never heard anyone say, “Officer, I’m so glad you pulled me over. I was exceeding the speed limit and I deserve a citation and points added so that my insurance rates will go up.” Typically, we become clueless on purpose because there’s something we want to avoid.

Clueless on purpose, intentional stupidity, idiot on the spot, playing dumb. We’ll do it if there’s something we want or if there’s something we want to avoid.

See if you can recognize some intentional cluelessness in this story. Jesus is headed to Jerusalem, where in less than one week He will die on a Roman cross because the people unjustly called for His execution. For three years He has taught on the coming kingdom of God, worked miracles, cast out demons, healed the sick, deaf, blind, and lame. He’d just raised a man named Lazarus from the dead, who previously had rotted in the grave for four days. Everything He did and said pointed to His identity as the Messiah, the Son of the living God, Emmanuel, God with us, the King of the Jews, but here’s what happened:

… [Jesus] went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and 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 untying it?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it.’ ”

Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”

They replied, “The Lord needs it.”

They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.

When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

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