THE DONKEYS LESSON

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MUSINGS

THE DONKEYS LESSON

Matthew 21:1-7
When they came near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples ahead of him. He said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you. You will find a donkey tied there and a colt with it. Untie them, and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them. That person will send them at once.” This happened so that what the prophet* had said came true: “Tell the people of Zion, ‘Your king is coming to you. He’s gentle, riding on a donkey, on a colt, a young pack animal.'” The disciples did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put their coats on them for Jesus to sit on.

I don’t know how many times I’ve read this passage and heard sermons on these words, “riding on a donkey, on a colt” and missed that it was the foal that Jesus rode, not the mother donkey. For that matter, I had missed the fact that the disciples brought them, both donkey and foal.

I understand the symbolism of Christ not riding in on a war horse but a donkey, a beast of burden. He came to Jerusalem not to drive out the Roman oppressors but to carry the burdens of his people.

The fact that it was a young colt, which had never been ridden,** means it was untrained in being ridden. It was both tied and accepted the costs on its back which indicates that it had some training because these things don’t come naturally to the animal. And carrying a person on its back would normally be a frightening experience for the creature.

Possibly you have seen movies or TV shows where they are “breaking” a bucking bronco. Climbing on the back of an untrained or even half trained animal is going to give you an exciting ride. However, there is no mention that the foal did anything but accept Jesus.

Thinking of this brought to mind Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Place my yoke over your shoulders, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble. Then you will find rest for yourselves because my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Jesus, who could calm the storm***, was able tho calm the creature because he was gentle and humble and his burden light.

Sad to say that donkey was smarter than I was. When I was first introduced to Jesus, I wasn’t trusting or accepting. I balked at shareing my load with him. I had many “close encounters” with the Lord and always shied away. However, he was patient and forgiving when I needed his forgiveness. I learned to trust and accept him. Have you? If not, NOW is the time to let him calm your troubled spirit. Let him lift your burden. He has already forgiven you (Luke 23:34) all you need to do is accept that forgiveness. Learn from the foal and me. Accept him now.

*Zechariah 9:9-11

**Mark 11:2

***Luke 8:22-25

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All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams

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