Summary: In Luke, when Jesus rides into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, the crowds cheer Him--though they have no idea what the next few days will bring. Tne King has come to pay a ransom: the ransom for human sin. So, let us cheer His triumphal entry, but be a
“The Donkey who Thought He was a Horse”
By: Ken Sauer, Pastor of East Ridge United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN
There is nothing dignified about a donkey!
We can look at him from any angle and we will fail to find what we might call a sense of “presence.”
He just doesn’t have it.
He is an awkward, stubborn, and well…not very intelligent animal to say the least.
But there is a story about a donkey who thought he was a horse.
One day, he was just hanging out in Bethany, minding his own business when two men came to him in urgent need.
“The Lord needs it,” he heard them say.
And as they brought it to Jesus, and threw their cloaks upon it and then put Jesus on it…
…well, it’s pride began to swell.
“Certainly I am not just a horse but a grand steed!”
And then, people began throwing their cloaks upon the road in honor of this donkey.
“Yes, I am grand indeed!”
People in the crowd “began joyfully to praise God in loud voices...”
Yes, donkey thought to himself, I am wonderful indeed.
And then, as soon as it had begun, the parade was over.
Jesus got down off the donkey, and the two men took him back to Bethany; tying him up again to the same old post.
No one, ever again, looked twice at donkey.
This got donkey thinking, and thinking and thinking.
And as donkey was thinking, God spoke to donkey, “You are not a horse but a donkey. The hosannas were not for you, but for Jesus. The palm branches were not for you, they were for the King of Kings.
You were used as an instrument in God’s great plan.
You did a great job!
You will be talked about for eternity.
Thank you for your service, but you are not a horse…
…you are a donkey…
…and there is nothing wrong with being a donkey!
Friends, as disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to be God’s donkey!!!
We are called to be humble, to bring Christ the King into the cities, towns and communities…
…we are to be used for the grand purposes of God.
And there is no higher privilege.
There is no greater calling!!!
If Jesus can use an ordinary, funny looking donkey for an extraordinary purpose…
…what can God do with you and me?
Palm Sunday has a lot of irony in it.
There is a huge parade as we wave palm branches…
…cheering and celebrating the dramatic entry of Jesus on the donkey.
Yet, in reality, there is very little to cheer about.
For those of us who truly know what the day is about know where Jesus is headed.
The “hosannas” and the cries of “blessed be” ring hollow, when we understand how fickle the crowd really is…
…how easily their praises turn into curses!
Are we ready not only to spread our cloaks on the road in front of Jesus, but also to follow Him into trouble, controversy, trial and death?
Just five days after the triumphant entry on Palm Sunday, we find Jesus standing in front of Pilate.
And in the background we hear, not loud “hosannas” but an angry, blood thirsty mob yelling, “Crucify Him!”
Our Gospel story is, indeed filled with paradox.
We are used to seeing Jesus hanging out with tax collectors and sinners.
We have been told over and over again, that this is what Jesus’ ministry was about…
…embodying the outstretched love of God to all in need, going to search for the lost sheep wherever they might be found.
We are not, perhaps, quite as prepared for it to end like this.
It is one thing for Jesus to go in and eat with a person who is a sinner.
It is another thing altogether for Him to go off and die the death of a violent rebel!!!
But this is the focus of the whole Gospel so far!
So, having interrogated Jesus, Pilate called the “chief priests, the rulers and the people, and said to them, ‘You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him.
Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death…”
Jesus made no threats, put up no resistance and said hardly anything!
Yet these people wanted to get rid of Him.
It is very interesting and important to note that Herod and Pilate had never gotten along.
Herod was a Jewish King and Pilate was a Gentile ruler.
But the Gospel of Jesus Christ is about God breaking down barriers of hatred, reaching out beyond the racial and geographical boundaries of Israel, beyond the prejudice and blindness, bringing together Jews and Gentiles, young and old, the hated Samaritan, the tax-collector.