Summary: This series is based loosely on the facts and stories found in the "Living Lent" sermon series written by Donald Neidigk.
Living Lent 6 - “The Donkey Reveals a Burdened Savior”
We are in the home stretch now. Lent… is coming to an end. We have spent five full weeks trying to get ready for Easter by focusing on Christ and preparing our hearts and minds for that splendid Easter morning. How many of you are ready for Easter? Well, ready or not here it comes… it’s time for us to get our Holy Week on! Because in today’s scripture passage… here comes the king! Why don’t we start out this morning by getting in the right mood… turn to someone next to you and say “Here comes the king!”
As a church, we have spent this time hearing from animals to teach us lessons about Christ and to help us prepare for Easter! Just for a quick review… we’ve heard from a fox… we’ve heard from a donkey… we’ve heard from a dove, we’ve heard from a chicken, and last week… we heard from (of all things) a vulture. This week we are visited by an old friend. Week one started out with the donkey… and guess what… he’s back. There was just so much that the donkey had to teach us that he couldn’t quite fit into just one sermon. One final thing before we read our scripture lesson… if you have enjoyed these lessons on the animals, and you want to know how it is going to end… you are going to have to come to the sunrise service on Easter. The 10:15 service is going to be something entirely different, so if you want to here the closing message… please join us at the 7:30 am sunrise service Easter morning. Now let’s turn to our text:
The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the King of Israel!" 14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, 15 "Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey's colt." 16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.
Folks… here comes the king! And there are three questions that we need to explore as we examine the significance of this event. What does the arrival of the king mean? What does it mean to the crowds? What does it mean to Jesus? And what does it mean to us?
For the Crowds:
People were making complete spectacles of themselves… throwing their cloaks down upon the path… tearing palm branches down to further pave the way. Several others waved the branches in a fine procession… this could mean only one thing… a King. But what King would be coming to Jerusalem during Passover? The Jews had no King… and any other king in the world knows far too well to avoid Jerusalem… the city of David itself… during the time of our Passover.
The key, to why this king was here… all depended… all hinged on what the king was riding! You see, there were so many traditions back then, so many practices… that it meant something when a king would ride into town… furthermore it meant something what the king was riding. So the crowd had one big question… “What is the King riding?” Is it a warhorse or a donkey? A warhorse meant war, a donkey… meant peace. Kind of like… if a king came riding to town today in a tank or a guarded humvee, you all would say… this is trouble. But if he came in a stretch limo in full procession… well we have a peaceful dignitary on our hands. It makes a difference what the king rides in on… and in today’s text… what is Jesus riding? "Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey's colt." Jesus is coming in peace. We all know that Jesus is the PRINCE of peace… and he comes to bring PEACE! But for this crowd… that donkey… has made ALL the difference.
The people shout: Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna! They can begin to make out the far off cries of “Hosanna to the Son of David!” What… “the Son of David?” Can it really be? The Son of David was a title reserved for the King of the Jews. The Jews have not had a King for far too long… only Caesar to be praised. Can it be? The King of the Jews approaches.