Summary: Uses the donkey of the Triumphal Entry as an example for us in exalting the Christ and introducing his reign into people’s lives.
Matthew 21:1-5 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away." 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: 5 "Say to the Daughter of Zion, `See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ "
â€œA Donkeyâ€™s Destinyâ€
Introduction: Today is Palm Sunday, the day when we celebrate the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem. Less than a week before crying out â€œcrucify him,â€ the crowds had welcomed Jesus as their Messiahâ€”the King sent by God to bring freedom to his people. One of the characters in the story that day was a simple donkeyâ€™s colt. And from this coltâ€™s destinyâ€”and role in elevating Jesus Christâ€”we can learn some lessons for our own lives.
What did the donkey do that day? He had carried the King of Kings into Jerusalem. He introduced Jesus Christ as the Messiah to the people. And we are called to do the same thing. Like the donkey, we are called to exalt Christ as king in the earthâ€”and introduce his rule and reign to other people.
I. Godâ€™s purpose for the donkey.
Here was an ordinary donkey. In fact, it was less than ordinary. It wasnâ€™t even a full-grown donkey. It wasnâ€™t sired by a famous king-carrying donkey. It wasnâ€™t trained in some royal stables for donkeys. In fact, we learn that this donkey had never even been ridden before. Not only had he never carried a king, he had never carried anyone. This was an insignificant donkey.
However, this donkeyâ€™s significance was found in a simple statement in vs. 3, â€œThe Lord needs them.â€ And this one reality, this one fact, changed the significance of the donkey. This suddenly made him a very important and very special donkey. Not that there was anything special in his own ability, but in the fact that the Lord intended to use this donkey to bring glory to himself.
Sometimes we may feel like this donkey, that we are insignificantâ€”that there is nothing special about us. However, in those moments, we must realize that like the donkey our significance is found in the fact that Jesus Christ has called us. That is he has said to each of us, â€œThe Lord needs you.â€
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Just as the donkey was called by the master to exalt him, so you have been called out of darkness and been given a new significanceâ€”as chosen, royal, holy, and belonging to Godâ€”for the purpose of exalting Christ.
II. Godâ€™s plan and the donkey.
Vs. 2 â€œYou will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by herâ€¦â€
One thing that is very interesting about this story is that Jesus knew exactly where the donkey was. It wasnâ€™t a guess that there might be a donkey. It wasnâ€™t a hope that somehow there might be a donkey along the way. He didnâ€™t just happen to see a donkey and decide it would be easier to ride a donkey than to walk. Jesus knew that in this precise location there was waiting a donkey. He sent his disciples to that exact place, to pick up that exact donkey. It was waiting for him.
In fact, we learn a few verses later that hundreds of years earlier, the prophet Zechariah had already spoken of this donkey. Before this donkey was ever born, or even thought of, it was predestined that he would be. It was predestinedâ€”and designed by God in his sovereign planâ€”that this donkey would be in this place. He existed for this very purpose. He was there for â€œsuch a time as this.â€
In Esther, Mordecai was speaking of his nieceâ€™s opportunity to save her people. In Esther 4:14b he says, â€œAnd who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" He had an understanding of the way God works. She didnâ€™t just happen to be in that place. But God had put her into that placeâ€”so that in his good time, he would use her for his purpose.
This isnâ€™t the only example of such ordination in Scripture. Many things that may seem to be coincidences, we could view instead as the sovereignty of God. Rahab lived in the city wallâ€”where she could let the spies down. David was bringing cheese to his brothers. The widow who fed Elijah was out gathering sticks. To the untrained eye, these things would all seem like coincidences, but God had maneuvered each of theseâ€”just like the donkeyâ€”into just the right place, so that when he was ready to incorporate them into his plan, they would be ready to go.