A couple of days ago it was Palm Sunday. Regardless of whether you’re in the Northern Hemisphere entering the early days of spring, or in the Southern Hemisphere facing the beginning of fall, the day of the start of Holy Week, changeable as it is from year to year, unites Christians globally.
It begins with the story so familiar.
Matt. 21:1 As Jesus and the disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the town of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. 2 “Go into the village over there,” he said. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a donkey tied there, with its colt beside it. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will immediately let you take them.”
4 This took place to fulfill the prophecy that said,
5 “Tell the people of Jerusalem
‘Look, your King is coming to you.
He is humble, riding on a donkey—
riding on a donkey’s colt.’”
6 The two disciples did as Jesus commanded. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt to him and threw their garments over the colt, and he sat on it.
8 Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting,
“Praise God for the Son of David!
Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Praise God in highest heaven!”
I’ve heard this story so often, like many of you. I remember attending some Young Life meetings at a friend’s high school where the speaker encouraged us to read the Gospels through the lens of the different people in each scene. To see the story play out through the eyes of the disciples. Through the eyes of the one healed or ministered to. Through the eyes of the crowd. Through the eyes of the twelve disciples.
Bible expositors will sometimes emphasize the fickleness of the crowd, shouting “Hosanna!” one week and “Crucify Him!” the next. Others suggest that the actual makeup of the crowd in each case would have been quite different.
Others will note the fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9
Rejoice, O people of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem!
Look, your king is coming to you.
He is righteous and victorious,
yet he is humble, riding on a donkey—
riding on a donkey’s colt.
But my Young Life Bible study method was challenged when a pastor suggested years ago to look at the story through the eyes of the donkey.
I hadn’t thought of that before, but having heard this, I never forgot the basic 3-point outline, and in sharing it today, I’m hoping you won’t forget it, either.
I’ll keep it short and simple, as did he. You can share this with adults or share it with children, but once you read this, you’ll find it fits in your back pocket for a time you need it.
So what do we know about the donkey:
- Jesus knew its location. The equivalent in our day would be for me to say, “Go downtown to the main intersection and you’ll find new car on display which has hardly been driven.”
- Jesus had need of it. He says, “Bring it to me.”
- It had never been ridden. You don’t see that detail in the text above, but we get it from Mark’s version in 11:1-10, and also in Luke’s version in 19:28-40.
- God knows our location. In a vast world of billions of people God is able to track each and every one of us. He knows our name. He knows our hearts. He can truly say, “I know where you live.”
- God has need of us. He chooses to work his will and master plan through people like us. While he doesn’t in and of himself need anything at all, he needs us in the sense that he is looking for a people (plural) who will be obedient to his calling.
- We must be willing to be broken.
One more time; this time we’ll make it more personal:
- God knows my location.
- God has need of me to carry his message to my corner of the world.
- I must be willing to be broken.
So simple! Now find someone to share this with.