If I came to you and asked if I could borrow your donkey, would you let me? You’d probably ask me what I needed him for.
The donkey has been a work animal for thousands of years. Egyptian hieroglyphics and paintings picture the donkey hauling supplies, carrying passengers, drawing water, plowing fields, threshing grain and anything else people thought for them to do. Their work was vital to the economy in ancient times. They referred to donkeys as the beast of burden. Though stubborn, donkeys are at once unflappable and gentle. They are comfortable hauling cargo or passengers in large crowds and aren’t bothered by what surrounds them. All classes of people rode donkeys: by Abraham, by Balaam the seer from Mesopotamia, by women and children, and by king David’s household (Genesis 22:3; Numbers 22:21; Exodus 4:20; 2 Samuel 16:2).
The Bible records that Jesus wanted to ride on a donkey during His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Psalm Sunday.
“Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: ‘SAY TO THE DAUGHTER OF ZION, ‘BEHOLD YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU, GENTLE, AND MOUNTED ON A DONKEY, EVEN ON A COLT, THE FOAL OF A BEAST OF BURDEN.’ †
The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them, and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their coats on them; and He sat on the coats. Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road. The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David; BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD;
Hosanna in the highest!” Matthew 21:2-9
† This verse is a reference to Zechariah 9:9, in which Zechariah prophesies that the King will ride into Jerusalem on a donkey.
A donkey was an appropriate beast for Jesus to ride into town on Palm Sunday . In ancient times the ruling class rode donkeys into town after great battle victories instead of majestic horses to play to the crowd and pretend to connect with the middle classes. The donkey, because if its docile demeanor, signified a return of peace for the people.
Jesus riding the docile donkey into the city on the last week of his life signified the war was over. Peace had come. It was the beginning of His followers’ understanding of Jesus as the Prince of Peace.
So, what does all this donkey business have to do with us? Remember when Jesus sent two disciples into town to find a donkey?
Jesus said to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me. If anyone says anything to you (probably the mule’s owner) you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them and immediately he will send them.’ (Matthew 21:2-3)
Did you catch that last line? “and immediately he will send them.” Immediately. Without questions. Without thinking. Without hesitation. Without doubting. A nameless villager forsakes possibly his sole labor force, because “The Lord needs them.”
Max Lucado says everyone has a donkey. It could be a talent, it could be a resource, it could be a singing voice. Your donkey could be a special affinity for small children or the elderly. Your donkey might be your new car, or your house, or your penchant for service, or your job. It could be your kids. Your donkey could be your bank account, your business, or your ministry. Whatever your donkey is, it’s valuable to you; and you may think it’s irreplaceable. You know what or who your donkey is.
The donkey is significant in this beautiful Palm Sunday story because its presumed owner gave it for the Lord’s use immediately. Immediately.
What’s the most valuable, irreplaceable thing you own (your donkey)? What if a total stranger came to you and asked for your donkey and said, “The Lord has need of it.”? What would be your response?
Can I borrow your donkey?
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