Why a Donkey?
“Rejoice greatly 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—even on a donkey’s colt.”
Zechariah 9:9 (NLT)
When Jesus entered into Jerusalem on the final week of his life, he did so riding on the back of a colt, a young donkey (Matthew 21:1-6)—why? This very important ride was taken to fulfil the prophecy of Zechariah quoted above about peace in Jerusalem.
In the West, these days, we don’t think much of donkeys—oh sure, they’re okay for children to ride on a beach during the holidays as I’m sure a lot us have done as youngsters. Donkeys, in this day and age, are also looked upon by us as mere beasts of burden and also as empty-headed animals, but in the East in the time of Jesus and before that, they were regarded as noble beasts. During the rule of Jair, a judge in Israel, Judges 10: 4 tells us, “His thirty sons rode around on thirty donkeys, and they owned thirty towns in the land of Gilead, which are still called the Towns of Jair.” These very important and wealthy people rode donkeys.
The donkey was an animal that Kings rode on when they came in peace—only in war did they ride upon horses. The entry of Jesus into Jerusalem was his claim to be King and not just any old King but the King of peace! It was upon the donkey of peace that he came, not on the horse of war. He was deliberately refusing the role of a warrior Messiah, which was of course what the Jewish people were looking for—a warrior to overcome the Romans and set up his kingdom here on earth. Notice in Matthew 21:8 how the crowds received him that day—“Most of the crowd spread their coats on the road ahead of Jesus, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. He was the centre of the procession and the crowds all around him were shouting. ‘Praise God for the Son of David! Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Praise God in highest heaven!’”
What an amazing welcome; a welcome as the Son of David and the one who comes in the name of the Lord! He came with an offer of love and peace; which was refused and instead, he was crucified for every one of us in order to make that peace available to the whole world
Father, your plan is awesome, thank you for your courageous Son who rode bravely to his death in Jerusalem for all mankind, reaching out in love and peace.
Study by Cliff Neill
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
Local Congregational Contact: