Last week, we studied and learned from a donkey. Surprising? Yes, but true!
That got me thinking about more of the animals in the Bible. I remembered the donkey and the colt that featured significantly in the Palm Sunday story. So I hope you will bear with me, and study with me in the New Testament this week, as we look at another story from God's barnyard! (Grin)
First, let's check out two of the passages that mention this mommy and her baby:
“Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; seated on a donkey’s colt.” (John 12:14-15)
Some people get reaaaallllly excited about the fact that there were two animals, and which one was Jesus riding? Gee, wouldn't it have looked strange for Him to sit on both of them?
For the purposes of our study, I'm not going down that rabbit trail. (Grin) We don't typically "do" rabbit trails here. I'm thinking there's a possibility that He rode on the colt, and the mom donkey was there for comfort for the male that had never been ridden. Be that as it may, let's look at the Old Testament passages, and the meanings of some of the words, to lay the foundation for our study this week . . .
Here's the verse in Zechariah:
OK, so wonder why both animals were mentioned by the prophet? The Hebrew word for the female donkey is "athown" and is derived from another word that means "to continue, permanence, strong, or chieftain." The Hebrew word for the male colt is "chamor" and means "foul, red, or trouble."
Is it possible that Jesus wanted both to fulfill Scripture, and also to represent the characteristics of Himself at that point in His ministry?
Let's keep looking . . .
I read in a Bible dictionary that the donkey mentioned in the Bible is not like the European donkey, which is infamous for its stubbornness. The Eastern donkey is actually much desired, and well-known for its patience, gentleness, intelligence, and submission. It was thought of as an animal of peace, where in contrast, the horse was thought of as an animal of war. Bred and trained to carry soldiers or pull war-time chariots, the horse was synonymous with war and fighting.
Jesus could have ridden on either one of the animals, the donkey or her colt, but Israel was not ready to accept her Prince of Peace, so He chose to enter the city of Jerusalem on the colt. The colt represented "trouble" that awaited Jesus, and the sins of the world that He would bear on the cross. He also represented the red blood that the Lamb of God would shed to take away those sins.
Perhaps the donkey represents events to come -- perhaps she foreshadows the second entry of Jesus into Jerusalem; the time that Jesus will return as the Prince of Peace, noble, kingly, strong, and permanent, just as her name is defined in Hebrew.
I dug into some commentaries and was impressed by some lines from the Talmud that shed some more light on this. The Talmud is the generic term for the documents that comment and expand upon the written Scriptures of the Old Testament. I guess we could say that it's the commentaries for the Hebrew people as they study. (Grin)
In Daniel 7:13, we read that "I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him." Then, in the Talmud, the commentary, we read that they thought "if Israel behaved worthily, the Messiah would come in the clouds of heaven; if otherwise, humbly riding on a donkey." So they were making reference to the verse in Zechariah there -- triumphant and victorious, but lowly and riding on a donkey.
Now, in Matthew and John (and Luke and Mark, too), we read that he came humbly and lowly as indicated by the colt. The Messiah Who was to be the Lamb of God will later return as the King of Kings.
Kinda makes you wonder . . . they really were not ready, were they? They had the prophecy and the reality, and still they "missed the boat."
Hopefully this week, we'll learn from this donkey, too! Join us next time?