First, Jesus was “going up to Jerusalem.” Making his way to arrive in time for Passover.
Jesus had a purpose and a direction in going. He knew that Jerusalem was where his bitterest enemies had the most power. He knew they wanted to kill him. Yet he went there anyway. Do you go where God asks you to even when you don’t feel LIKE IT?
The towns of Bethphage and Bethany were right next to each other outside of Jerusalem on the other side of the Mt. of Olives. Bethphage means “House of Unripe Figs,” and Bethany means “House of Figs.” Do you live for God BEARING FRUIT?
Nearing the city he tells his disciples to go fetch a donkey. If anyone tries to stop you, tell them –“the Lord needs it.”
So why did Jesus want a donkey? And why a young donkey?
- In the ancient Hebrew world, a sacrificial animal had to be one that was pure–that had not been used for any other purposes. This is highly symbolic in that Jesus wanted to demonstrate the sacrificial and holy nature of his purpose.
- In 1 Kings 1:33 the great King David is nearing the end of his life and wants his son Solomon to inherit the throne. To ensure that everyone knows that Solomon is the true heir, the true king, David has him paraded into the city on his own donkey.
- In Zechariah 9:9 we have this verse: Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
- This symbol demonstrated the characteristics of an ideal king—someone who would use a lowly animal of peace, to demonstrate his goodness. An IDEAL CHRISTIAN.
Four Life Lessons We Can Learn From The Little Donkey:
1. “Untie him and bring him to me!” If we are to serve the Lord, we must be untied from all THINGS WHICH BIND US.
- Donkeys are notorious for being stubborn. Strong sense of self-preservation.
- Almost impossible to make a donkey do anything when they are afraid.
- Once you have earned their confidence they are willing to go anywhere and do anything for you
2. Like the Donkey, we need to be “loose” to be used for the work of the Lord. “I have need of him.”
- Let’s take a second look in John 12:14. Luke did not record names of disciples. When a disciple did something of significance their names were always given. Luke probably did not see anything significance in this assignment.
- Our second lesson: To be loosed – but from what? Seeing the significance of the simple things God asks us to do?
- Jesus is always sending us on missions – Go for this or go for that. Try it my way or why not listen to me for a change.
- Why does he or she get to do this or that in the church? I want to do the cool stuff like Peter and walk on water.
3. Once we are loosed from worldly trapping we must be tied up for the work of Christ. Bond Servants for Christ. We have been bought with a price.
- The colt (polos) has royal associations. Jesus’ riding the donkey echoes this regal arrival in Zechariah’s prophecy in chapter 9, verse 9: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you, triumphant and victorious is he; humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
- Let me back up. The donkey was tied, then untied and used for Christ – in today’s society, in the church, too many are tied to THINGS.
- Tied down with the need to forgive but we can’t do it.
- Tied to guilt, anxiety and concern, but can’t break free.
- We are tied to our televisions sets, iPad, iPhone, iWatches and just plain old “I.”
- We are tied to our dysfunction, our fears, and our unrelinquished burdens.
- Which leads us to lesson 4…
4. Following Christ, learning from the lowly Donkey, grants us the privilege to see what other people cannot.
- We must realize the fact that we are privileged in that we see the events unfolding in the world today, very differently than the godless do. We are privileged to see what God has in store for humanity, we are privileged to have received His forewarnings far in advance of the calamities that are befalling the earth, and we are privileged to know that we are perpetually safe under the shadow of His wing.
Meet the Author
Alan Bullock has a BA in Biblical Studies, a Master’s Degree in Biblical Counseling, and an earned Doctor of Theology. In addition, Alan is a Certified Pastor Counselor, a member of The International Association of Christian Counseling Professionals (IACCP), and also a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC).