Matthew 21:1-2,4-5 – Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me." All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: "Tell the daughter of Zion, 'Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.'" (NKJV)
In the small town outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, where I grew up, the county ordinance prohibited any kind of livestock on our properties. However, that ordinance did not stop one family from keeping a donkey in their backyard. I was amazed when I first saw the neighbourhood kids riding their donkey down the street. But before long, the animal was removed, and things went back to normal. Then, years later, I was again entertained by several donkeys at a high school basketball game. In the amusing sport known as "Donkey Basketball", one team plays against another while riding donkeys, teachers versus the students.
Nevertheless, what I appreciate the most about donkeys is their role in the Bible, and watching their performance at live nativity scenes and church plays.
Appropriately, Jesus' animal of choice for His triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem was a not a great stallion but a simple, ordinary donkey. Without pomp, humbly riding on a lowly beast of burden, our Lord presented Himself to be the Messiah of Israel — not in military power but in peace. Even more fascinating, our Lord rode an untamed colt, also accompanied by the colt's mother. What an honour for this special foal to be reserved to do the King's business on this significant, eventful day which many Christians celebrate as "Palm Sunday".
In consideration, Jesus, for the sake of the colt, allowed its mother to go along on the vigorous and exhausting journey. In the midst of an excited crowd spreading their cloaks and palm branches on the road, the donkeys remained calm under the compassionate supervision of the Master. Therefore, God had a plan to use these animals for His glory, and they did exactly as He required.
Though donkeys have quite a reputation for being stubborn, I have read reports from those in the donkey business that these animals do respond rather well when treated with kindness. In today's story, the Lord had need of them. So, they were untied and obedient to His loving command.
If the Lord used a donkey to do His will, how much more will He use us? But when the Master has need of us, how will we respond — like a stubborn mule or a humble servant? From this illustration, may we be inspired to respond in obedience and follow the Lord wherever He may lead.
Prayer: Lord, grant that we may be ready to serve You whenever You have need of us. May we humbly respond to Your call that You may use us for the sake of Your kingdom. In Jesus' holy name, we pray. Amen.