The Donkey

Waiting for the King’s call.

The first day of Passion week and we “take a ride” with Jesus as He enters Jerusalem. His whole life has been building to this week and what a way to start it!

Each time we came to this point in our gospel accounts we got to rejoice as Jesus entered Jerusalem. We looked at several aspects of this event. In Matthew we looked at God’s planning and preparation for this event, including preparing the donkey. In Mark we looked at the faith of those involved, including the willingness to walk up to a strange donkey and untie it without permission. In Luke we looked at the praises that were being shouted, including Jesus telling the Pharisees that this praise HAD to happen. In John we looked at the crowd, including where some of them came from and their attitudes.

We looked at this story from so MANY angles I was wondering where to go with our look at it today. I feel God pointing out the donkey to me. Why a donkey? What is the significance?

The donkey has never been a “majestic” animal. He is a lowly and humble “beast of burden.” He/She was used to carry people, produce, and all manner of materials. They are sure footed and steady. They also are loyal to their master.

I had heard stories growing up about how Jesus riding into Jerusalem was linked to David riding on a donkey to be crowned king. I was MISINFORMED. Solomon is the one the story supposedly referenced but he rode on one of his father’s mules to be anointed as king of Israel.

I was looking at the significance of the donkey and came across this question on my favorite answer site, GotQuestions. They point out the practice of kings in ancient times of riding donkeys for peaceful purposes and horses for battle. So my originally learned story of David could NEVER fit this model. David was a conquering king. He enlarged the territory of Israel and essentially worked as God’s hand to take the Promised Land. Solomon was a king of peace. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to battle the neighbors but that God gave Israel rest under his rule. That distinction is also why God didn’t let David build a sanctuary for Him, but he allowed Solomon to.

It is interesting that Solomon rode a hybrid animal to his coronation. It may be a translation issue from the original writings that we made because of our modern language but I don’t think so. God protects His word. Mules are a cross between a male donkey and a female horse. To me this speaks of peace and majesty. Solomon’s kingdom was a peaceful one but it was also the richest kingdom in all history. His wisdom, from God, was known throughout the “world.” I’m not even going to go into a debate about whether people lived on the WHOLE earth during Solomon’s days but those in his geographic region certainly heard about him. Even Cleopatra came to appraise his wisdom. She went away humbled.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem that Sunday morning He came to bring His promise of peace. The Pharisees and other religious leaders didn’t have peace on their minds but He did. It WOULDN’T be a peaceful week but peace was Jesus’ ultimate goal. Peace between man and God. Peace between Jew and Gentile. And ultimately peace for ALL the inhabitants of His coming Kingdom.

Something else I noticed about David, Solomon and Jesus is their attitudes when accepting their appointment. David was the youngest son of a large family. He was the one tasked with tending the sheep. It wasn’t even a servant who performed this job but the son of the father. When he was anointed by Samuel to become king he didn’t try and go out and grab that promise. He waited until GOD said it was time to step into it. He never raised his hand against Saul to grab the reins of the kingdom. He humbly waited for that position to be given to him by the people. He did NOT force them to accept him as their king. They chose him.

When Solomon was anointed as king he was also humble. He didn’t ask for this job. He took on the role because his father appointed him to it. He wasn’t even the one who put together his anointing; his father’s advisors did. They were following David’s wishes and God’s commands. Solomon felt VERY underqualified for the job but stepped into it as an obedient son. When God asked him what he wanted in his new role he asked for wisdom. Probably the wisest decision he ever made!

When Jesus entered Jerusalem He was acting on the direction of His Father. Like David, He waited until the right time to actually step into the role He was called to. He doesn’t force ANYONE to accept Him as their King, but He IS King nonetheless. Like Solomon, He was being the obedient Son and following His Father’s wishes. He did His Father’s will, no matter what the personal cost. But unlike both of the others, His Kingdom required His death to establish it. David and Solomon ruled God’s people for the rest of their lives. Jesus gave His life to rule God’s people for eternity.

Thank You Jesus for being my King. Thank You for the peace You have brought my life. NO my life is not constantly without struggle but You give me Your peace in the midst of each of those struggles. I know that You won’t always be “peaceful” because there is coming a time when You will enter again on a different animal; a horse of war. That day will bring ultimate peace but there is a necessary battle to get there. Thank You for showing me the BEST side to be on in that battle!

Thank You for showing me, once again, something new when I come to You. I love looking at the “scrapbook” together and seeing what You will point out next. I’m looking forward to following along this whole week to see where Your finger points next in the picture!

 

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