He Came Riding on a Donkey
I opened my Bible this weekend purposed to soak my mind in all things leading up to Jesus’ resurrection. I made it about two sentences into my study, and stalled out a crying mess over Jesus, God robed in flesh, riding into Jerusalem on a donkey.
It’s forever mystifying to read how radically different His ways are compared to ours. From the very beginning of His life, to the end, he consistently does things different than our human imaginations. Most expected Jesus to arrive on a mighty warhorse. I mean, why wouldn’t He? That’s what we read in stories, as children. It’s what we eat up watching shows on TV. We thrive on the action, and enjoy every bit of the adrenaline release as our heart races. Don’t we?
We do, and why wouldn’t the greatest rescue of all time involve some heart thumping, anxiety inducing twists and turns?
It does – lots of them, and that’s what had me in tears. Our assumptions when it comes to how things should play out completely omit what we know of His character. Thinking for a moment, we would begin to consider that warhorse would have indicated a royalty –taken by force.
Friends – that is not how our God works. He’s not taking the Throne in our life by His own power. Rather, He asks us to determine His sovereignty on our own.
Will we choose Him as Lord?
Jesus was humble. We see it time and time again in the Gospels, and we see this trait portrayed powerfully in his decision to ride into that Holy City on a donkey. A DONKEY – The very symbol of peace and humility. There is great power in humble actions.
Humility is not weakness.
His arrival on the donkey was prophetic. The Jews gathering in Jerusalem for Passover would have been familiar with it, He was appealing to them not with a loud voice declaring they bow to Him. No, He chose something more obvious to them echoing the words of the prophet Zechariah not through a voice of declaration, but actions fulfilling the prophecy. He came riding on a donkey. This was His move. This was His announcement. I AM KING.
Can you imagine His thoughts as he rode in that day?
Jesus was fully God, and fully man.
I wonder if His humanity felt conflicted. I know mine sure does.
I mean – There He was with floods of people gathering. He’s hearing voices with His very own ears declaring, “HOSANA!” which translated means salvation, or please save us. He is seeing them with his own eyes acknowledging His royalty as they lay palm branches, and coats on the ground paving the way so the dust from that road wouldn’t touch His divinity. Yet there He was in His omniscience knowing that only a few days later these same lips were going to declare, “CRUCIFY!” and He would see them with his own eyes dismissing His royalty as their actions would cause them to choose Barabbas the murderer to live, and Him the Holy One to die.
I just can’t get my brain wrapped around it. I, myself feeling conflicted. I rejoice at the salvation that results at the end of that week, but I cry because the sin of my own life is standing right there declaring the word that breaks my own heart, “CRUCIFY!” – and the actions I choose shouting for Barabbas to be set free.
What a God we serve!
A God willing to ride through that stretch into the City – on that donkey – knowing what we were going to do to Him. I imagine His humanity to be conflicted, but reality? I doubt it.
He knew the end game. It was His purpose for coming – the greatest rescue of all time.
He knew the shouts to crucify were coming. He knew we were going to choose Barabbas over Him, and Guys – He Chose the same, and really? He’s still choosing the same. We’re all Barabbas. We’re all responsible for the death of the innocent One. His blood is on our hands. Just as He willingly let Barabbas go free – he’s doing the same for us, and he’s still humbly, and peacefully waiting for us to choose to place Him as King over our life.
Are we going to do it?
This week is no ordinary week. This is Holy Week. A week when we slow down and linger through the record of Jesus’ last week on earth before His victory over the grave.
I wonder if we all might take time to think through and pray over what this week means for us all? Perhaps we’ll slow to a pace where we can see Him riding into that Holy City on a donkey, that peaceful humble donkey and see the choice that still radiates from its purpose.