Reading: Matthew 21:1-11
Focus: Matthew 21:2
“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.”
This passage, often named “Jesus’ Triumphant Entry,” marks the beginning of the end of Jesus’ physical ministry on earth. It’s also widely known as “Palm Sunday” in church world. There’s so much rich cultural content that we’d never know without a little digging… lucky for you, I did a little digging. =)
It seems odd that there’s a prophesy about a donkey and a colt, doesn’t it? After all, a king would make a grand entrance on a steed… and wasn’t everyone expecting Jesus to overthrow the government and become king? What we know, though, is that the donkey was traditionally an animal of peace. If a leader was going to war, he rode a steed; if he came in peace, he rode a donkey.
Even knowing what was on the horizon for him, Jesus didn’t bully his way into Jerusalem, and he didn’t bully his way into the hearts of the people (including us). Jesus chose peace.
Jesus asked for a donkey *and* a colt. Why did he need them both? Can you imagine what that poor young colt would have been experiencing? He’s never even been sat upon, much less led a parade with people shouting and throwing coats and branches in front of him. But there’s no mention of a crazy wild colt incident during the ‘triumphant entry.’ Maybe mama went where the colt went (or the other way around); I’m thinking this youngster was pretty dependent on her.
Jesus chose the young colt, the one with no experience. Jesus knew him, and he had it all under control. See where we’re going here? Jesus chose you! Jesus knows you, and he has your situation all under control.
Lastly, Jesus made a grand entrance here, which was quite unusual for him. Throughout his ministry, Jesus often told people not to tell others about miracles, and he didn’t caravan around drawing attention to himself. Now, that’s not to say that people didn’t follow him. They did. He was so different, and people talked. So why the fuss this time? This was a time for hundreds of thousands of people to see, hear, and talk about Jesus. Jerusalem was so crowded (because of the attendance requirement during the celebration of Passover), that this was the only chance many people would have to make their choice about Jesus. One week later, when the going got tough, many of the same people who were shouting ‘hosannah’ were shouting ‘crucify him.’
You have a choice about Jesus, too. He still doesn’t draw attention to himself, but everything created on this planet – including you and me – was created for his glory. Will we choose to glorify him with our lives?
Jesus knew where his ride would take him that day, and he stayed the course. He knew that what was at the end of that road would be worth it, and it loved us enough to see it through. Even when we don’t feel peaceful, when we feel like we’re unqualified to do what he’s asking, and when the going gets tough, stay the course. If you’ve chosen Jesus, the end of your road will be worth it, too, no matter your journey.
Jesus, thank you. Thank you for choosing to stay the course for me. Help me to stay the course with you when the going gets tough – help me choose peace, help me trust that you have things under control, and help me to glorify you with my life. I choose you, Jesus, today and every day. In your sweet name I pray, Amen.