Summary: A Sermon for Palm Sunday.
“There is Nothing Dignified About a Donkey”
by: Rev. Ken Sauer, Pastor, Grace United Methodist Church, Soddy Daisy, TN www.graceumcsd.org
There is nothing dignified about a donkey.
We can look at a donkey from any angle and we will fail to find what we might call a sense of ‘presence’.
A donkey just doesn’t have it.
A donkey is an awkward, stubborn, and well… not very intelligent animal to say the least.
In his well-known poem on the donkey, G.K. Chesterton makes the donkey reply to those of us who might make fun or laugh at him:
“Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.”
Whatever Jesus Christ touches Jesus dignifies!
Whatever Jesus touches Jesus makes whole!
As Bill Gaither wrote in his hymn,
“He touched me,
O, he touched me,
And O the joy that floods my soul!
Something happened, and now I know,
He touched me and made me whole.”
It was God’s plan that the Messiah ride into Jerusalem, not on a valiant steed, but on an undignified donkey!
Everything Jesus did just cried out: “Humility.”
But then Jesus is God.
And therefore what did Jesus have to prove?
It’s the people who feel they have to prove something…those who are insecure in themselves and crave the respect of others in order to feel as if their life matters…it’s those of us who demand the accolades, who come driving in with the fanciest or loudest of cars, whose personalities dominate and subordinate, whose houses take up what is practically the equivalent of an entire city block who need to learn what true greatness is.
As the figure playing the part of Christ in Jesus Christ Superstar sings so poignantly:
“Neither you Simon, nor the 50,000.
Nor Judas nor the Jews,
nor the priests nor the scribes, nor poor Jerusalem itself,
understand what power is,
understand what glory is,
understand at all,
understand at all.
To conquer death you only have to die,
You only have to die.”
And is that not what Christ did?
And is that not the key to our living life to the full?
We only have to die to the delusions of riches, selfishness, war, the “my way or the highway” type of thinking…to be great we only have to die…and live for Christ!!!
This is what it takes to be truly great!
The truly great are able to be comfortable in their own skin, love themselves despite whatever shortcomings they may have to endure and are free to love God and neighbor as themselves!!!
So Jesus, being TRULY GREAT in Capital letters…came riding into Jerusalem on a ridiculous looking donkey!!!
But you know what?
That donkey did a pretty good job on that first Palm Sunday, did it not?
That undignified donkey didn’t let Jesus down in the least.
Far from dragging the pomp and circumstance down to its level…the donkey was actually lifted up.
The undignified became dignified because it was being used by Christ; because it was serving Christ!!!
My friends, do you need a lift?
Do you need to feel as if your life truly has meaning?
The only answer that will satisfy is to be willing to be used by the Lord; to serve Jesus!!!
And in doing so, your life will become filled with more worth and dignity and meaning than you could ever imagine!
The more you serve Christ the better life becomes, and the less your insecurities rule and cause you to have the need for that fancy car, that big bank account, that ridiculously humongous and wasteful house!!!
And if Christ had a grand purpose for a lowly donkey just think of the grand purpose Christ has in mind for you!!!
You only have to be willing to be used!
No matter how ordinary, uneducated, unpopular, disabled, disfigured, untalented, or seemingly unimportant a person may be or feel—Jesus Christ has a use for them, and He raises that person up—or gives them dignity--by His use!
Think about it.
Jesus Christ uses ordinary people in order to accomplish extraordinary things.
Look at the disciples themselves.
They were all ordinary people.
As far as we know, none of them were of noble birth.
None of them were what we might call a genius, or a scholar.
We know the occupations of only five out of the twelve.
Four were fishermen and one was a tax collector—and a tax collector in those days was a greedy money lender—not a respected government official.
And with this group of ordinary men, Jesus Christ turned the world upside down!
And Jesus has been using ordinary people ever since and doing mighty things with them.
God will raise up anybody who will give Him their heart.