Jesus, a donkey, and his Father. Not really the most striking title or one that would make you run out to the store and buy the book – and yet when you think of it, as a Christian, is there anything more beautiful, simple, and challenging? Do those 3 words, titles, names evoke a feeling, a challenge, and a hope? Well, before we get started let’s start where we must start – with scripture. So do me a favor and read Matthew 21:1-11.
For many of us these words from the Gospel of Matthew reflect Jesus’ triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem. A day that was, for many people, THE parade of parades. This event was the beginning of a week of hardship for Christ. This event was the kickoff of all kickoffs of a week where he would come into this city of God where he would preach, teach, flip tables, have compassion on, weep for, pray for, and die at the hands of.
In Mark’s account of this scene (Mark 11:1-11) we get a few more details of this time as we read that Jesus told his disciples what to do. That when they entered the city they would find a colt tied up and that they were to untie it and bring it to him. He also gave them words to speak should anyone stop them. And sure enough, they find the colt, people stop and ask them what they’re doing, the words given to them by Jesus are spoken and they eventually arrive back to Jesus with the colt. So why am I sharing this? Because Jesus knew. Jesus knew where the colt was so he sent his disciples there. Jesus knew people would stop them so he gave them words to speak. Jesus knew that he was then going to ride in on the colt and the crowds would go nuts. That they would live into the words from Psalm 118:25-26. Jesus knew that 5 days later those shouts of “Hosanna!” would then go to “Crucify Him!” (Mark 15:13). Jesus knew of all that was taking place around him and that his role on this earth was coming to an end as his purpose was about to be fulfilled. But he also was fully aware that this donkey ride was not what it was – that he understood it completely different than they did.
The people wanted Jesus to overthrow Rome and reestablish Jerusalem – but that’s not why he’s there. The people wanted Jesus to reinstate them as the people of God and put THEM back in power – but that’s not why he comes. The people wanted what they wanted and they wanted Jesus to be who they wanted him to be – but that’s not why he’s there nor is it the work he comes to do.
Does he overthrow Rome – yes, in a way, as he declares God the ruler of the world but he doesn’t do it in a way they wanted? Does Jesus reinstate Jerusalem as the people of God? Yes…but he also reinstates ALL people who worship God regardless of class, creed, nationality, ethnicity, or gender (which is not a Jewish thing to do). Does he give them power? Yes – but not how they wanted. It’s a power but it’s HIS power to do HIS will and work. And ultimately, and the reason I write (I know – we’ve trudged through a lot to finally get the reason for this blog), Jesus doesn’t come into Jerusalem and do what he does because he’s trying to make the people happy or to fulfill their desire of him. Jesus knew WHO he was – he was the Son of God. Jesus knew WHY he came – he came to do the will of the Father, the One who sent him. And Jesus knew WHAT he had to do – and it wasn’t what the people wanted, it was what the Father wanted of him.
See, as Jesus rode on that donkey he didn’t care about the crowds, he didn’t care about the pomp and circumstance they were giving him all he cared about, all he focused on, what the will of his Father. Jesus had his priorities straight. e He knew that if he followed the people’s desires, if he obeyed their requests, then his death on Friday and resurrection on Easter wouldn’t come. Jesus knew that he COULD sit on the throne here on earth but that would NOT fulfill why God sent him. That wouldn’t obey the One who sent him. Jesus knew that what the people wanted was temporal – but what God was asking him to do was eternal – and clearly one is much better than the other.
I wonder how you or I would be in that moment. I wonder how we would respond to the shouts of our names, the cheer of the crowd, the feeling of power that would come upon us. I wonder how many times I knew the will of the Father and yet I followed the will of the people or the will of me. I wonder about how many times I knew my priority from God and yet prioritized it wrong.
You and I get so distracted with the ways of this world, the desires she has on us, and the feelings we feel. You and I easily forget who we were created for and our purposes – and last I checked it wasn’t for me. You and I get easily pulled from our gazes up to heaven to staring at things of this world because while we desire one with every ounce of our being – that other one sure is awfully tempting right now. And so often we turn to the temporal and immediate instead of the eternal and waiting. Like children who hear the word “ice cream” things of this world have a hold on us and we just can’t NOT focus on it – and Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on a donkey is a good reminder and question about where OUR priorities are.
So where are your priorities today? On you? On others? Or on the One who created you and put you here for a purpose?
So, now’s your time to go check out parts 2-6 (when they come up) and what the other bloggers are doing who are on this fun little journey with me! Also, if you’d like to continue with this theme/thread and read THEIR take on the text then see below as to when they are writing. Until then? I encourage you to check them out, their style of writing (which is different than mine), and their wisdom because they all are talented and gifted writers.
Dawn will then blog on this topic/text, and her take of it, on April 28th and you can find HER here: https://drawingclosertochrist.com/
Eventually, when Dawn’s blog is up you’ll find the link HERE to Part 3
Next up will then be Matt on this topic/text, and his take of it, on May 5th and you can find his blog here: https://jesusluvsall.wordpress.com/
Eventually, when Matt’s blog is up you’ll find the link HEREto Part 5
Lastly, but not leastly (not a word – but absolutely fitting), Lydia will close this up and share her thoughts and take on this topic/text on May 12th and you can find her here: https://inhisserviceandlovingit.wordpress.com/
Eventually, when Lydia’s blog is up you’ll find the link HEREto Part 6