Summary: There were different attitudes displayed when Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem.
“THE HUMBLE KING, THE HAPPY CROWD AND THE HATEFUL LEADERS”
When I was a child about 6 years old, Dad would take me to Harvest Festival in Arvada, Colorado. He would pay the Attendant a dime for me to ride a pony around and around in a large circle along with 9 other buckaroos. That was 5 minutes of glory for this Gene Autry Wannabe.
About that same time, a friend of Dad’s had a Pinto named, “Joker.” Sometimes when he visited the man, he’d take me along and they’d let me sit on Joker’s back. I remember that with warm nostalgia nearly every time I see a brown and white pony.
One beast of burden I have never ridden is a donkey. My former Associate Minister, Walt Chamberlain, has though. Once he played in a game of Donkey Basketball and ended up spending more time pulling the donkey by the reins than riding the stubborn critter.
I told you once about Norm Hedlund's horse riding experience. But it bears retelling. He mounted the horse and had scarcely hit the saddle when he was unceremoniously tossed off. Not to be that easily thwarted, he took a few minutes, composed himself and remounted his steed. This time, he managed to stay in the saddle for about 10 seconds before being ejected. He would have tried for a third time, but he was out of quarters, and Norma wouldn't give him another one.
But this isn’t a sermon about horse riding. No, it’s a much more important message than that.
This is Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. We think about Jesus riding on a totally compliant, though unbroken, donkey into Jerusalem. Let’s consider that event and some of its applications.
“As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 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. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.’ This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: ‘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.”’ The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of Him and those that followed shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Hosanna in the highest!’ When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, ‘Who is this?’ The crowds answered, ‘This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.’ Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. ‘It is written,’ He said to them, “My house will be called a house of prayer,” but you are making it a “den of robbers.”’ The blind and the lame came to Him at the temple, and He healed them. But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things He did and the children shouting in the temple area, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David,’ they were indignant. ‘Do you hear what these children are saying?’ they asked Him. ‘Yes,’ replied Jesus, ‘have you never read, “From the lips of children and infants You have ordained praise?”’” Matthew 21:1-16 (NIV).
What do we see on that donkey ride?
I. WE SEE THE HUMBLE KING:
A. The prophet Zechariah predicted it, “See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
1. The word for “gentle” has also been translated “Meek or Humble.”
2. He came in humbly, on a donkey, in a parade of peasants, rather than as an arrogant Roman conqueror, astride a magnificent white horse, leading a parade of soldiers and captives.
3. But there is nothing timid or weak or insipid or ineffectual about Jesus as we see in His wrath at the sacrilegious use of the Temple.
B. The gentle humility of Jesus can be seen in these texts:
1. “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV).