This week we are studying the passages that tell of what we today call the "Triumphal Entry" of Jesus Christ into the city of Jerusalem. Let's see what we can learn from this donkey and her colt!
Remember we noted that this story was in all four gospels? Let's look at how Luke told the tale in his letter to Theophilus:
Now, I realize that my title this week gives it away, but is there one word repeated here in this passage? In fact, it's there five times. Take a peek . . .
Did you see it?
Tied, untied, untying. It really jumped out at me when I was reading. So I thought I would share it this week.
Does your church or fellowship of believers celebrate the Triumphal Entry? Some churches distribute palm branches to the young people and children, and they walk and leap about as they enter the church, shouting "Hosanna!" as the disciples and the crowds did, when Jesus entered the city. The church leaders often preach on the disciples, the palms, on Jesus, and more -- but there is not often a focus on the donkey, as we are focused this week.
Before Luke focused on the untying of the donkey, he gave us a very detailed picture of Jesus before His death. He showed Him walking up to the city mount -- did you know that it's quite a climb to Jerusalem from the surrounding regions? The city sits about three-thousand eight hundred feet above sea level! Luke said that Jesus "set His face towards Jerusalem." He was determined. He was on a mission. He knew full well that He was facing His last meal with His friends, betrayal, trial, punishment, and finally death on the cross. It's ironic, isn't it, that the same people who welcome Him as King here, will be among those who shout later for His death.
Luke says that Jesus instructed two of the disciples to go into the village ahead, and to look for a colt. (In the other gospels we read of the mother donkey, too.) Usually when the disciples do something significant in the gospels, they are mentioned by name. Wonder why Luke didn't name them? Maybe Luke thought their assignment was not of much importance. Sure hope they didn't feel that way. Many times believers do grumble, though, and long for recognition. In my mind's eye, I can see if I were one of those dispatched to bring back the donkey, and if I'm honest, I know that I've experienced that "I'm just a go-fer" attitude. Have you seen it? Have you felt that way? They send you to "go-fer" something, or to "go-fer" someone. If only they would give us the big, important jobs. Not the little ones.
Oy vey. I sure hope that the disciples didn't feel that way. At any rate, there is nothing here to tell us that they were disappointed in the apparently small task for their Lord. They followed His instructions carefully and quickly. (Note to self: this is something I should always strive to do, too!)
They brought back the donkey that was born for this day. It had not been used nor ridden by anyone else. He was tied up so that he would not wander away, or be taken by someone else. And when the owner heard that the Lord needed it, he nodded and said for them to untie and take the donkey with them.
Luke emphasized five times that the donkey needed to be untied. The colt could not do the job until he was untied.
We are often tied up, aren't we? Don't we, too, need to be untied? How can we do a job for Jesus if we are tied up?
We'll explore this more in our conclusion, tomorrow.