If Anyone Asks You

What leaps to mind when you hear someone begin a sentence with, “If anyone asks you”?

Obviously, when someone starts a sentence with that series of words, more instructions are about to follow.

Back in 2009, I had just started my first day of a two-week temporary assignment as a receptionist at a church.

Within the first hour of my temporary assignment, the senior pastor called the staff into a meeting. Meanwhile, being a temp, I remained at my post. As the staff came out of this unexpected meeting, I realized they had received upsetting news. Many were crying as they walked past the reception area to return to their offices.

My manager came and shared with me the news that the person whose role I was covering had stage four cancer and would most likely not return to work. She then proceeded with a version of “if anyone asks you” instruction on how to respond to questions that might come from church members as word of this spread.

This was a tremendous help to me in that unexpected situation. She coached me to be truthful while still protecting the privacy of the person. 

Jesus once coached two of his disciples to respond to an “if anyone asks you” question for a specific situation.

Consider the following passage from the Gospel of Luke.

29 When [Jesus] drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’ ”[1]

What reason did Jesus say his disciples should offer if questioned about untying the colt?

Would this response be satisfactory to you if you were the one asking why they were untying the colt? Why or why not?

Earlier in Luke, Jesus had told his disciples:

31 And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. 33 And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.”[2]

Yet, Luke also reports the disciples did not grasp everything he was telling them, for the meaning was hidden from them. (Luke 18:34)

Why was it necessary for the meaning to be hidden from them?

Usually, Jesus and his disciples walked everywhere they went or used a boat to cross a lake. Yet, no one considers asks Jesus why he sent two of his disciples to bring him a colt.

And earlier he had said everything written about the Son of Man by the prophets would come true.

Consider the following from the prophet Zechariah:

The Coming King of Zion
    Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
       Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
       humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey. [3]

Now read what happens in Luke when the disciples go to find the colt.

32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” [4]

How does Luke 19:32-38 compare to the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9?

Why did Jesus need to ride a colt the last mile or so into Jerusalem?

Why do you think the owners of the colt remained silent after the response Jesus’ disciples gave for their actions?

How would you have responded if you were the owner of the colt?

Why did the disciples put their cloaks on the colt and then set Jesus on the colt? (Also see 1 Kings 1:38-40)

Now put yourselves in the disciple’s place. 

In this situation, even though the disciples did not understand everything that was happening, they remained obedient to Jesus’ instructions.

It is interesting that Jesus does not tell them to put their cloaks on the colt for him to ride on it or on the road before him.

What do you think prompted them to do this?

Describe a time the Lord asked you to surrender your property or time simply because He needed it? 

Did you understand the request at the time He asked?

How quick are you to obey a request from the Lord even if, at first, you do not understand the request?

Explain why it is important to know the Lord needs us to surrender ourselves and our possessions to Him.

What mighty works are you praising the King of Kings for doing in your own life or those around you?

Heavenly Creator Father of all things, grant us eyes to see, ears to hear, hearts to know, minds to understand, and voices to celebrate You. In Luke 19:40, Jesus responded to the Pharisaical judgment against him that if the crowds remained silent, the stones would cry out his praises. Forgive us, Lord, for the times we have remained silent when we should have praised you. Enable us to obey You even when we struggle to understand. Amen.


Barbara Lynn


[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Lk 19:29–31.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Lk 18:31–33.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Zec 9:9.

[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Lk 19:32–38.

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