Our lives are all part a story, folded into time, a longer story, a larger story. A story stretching from the beginning of time and reaching through to the end of it, the story of God’s long walk with human beings, the long story of His grace journeying to find us.
The story we human beings miss, miss-shape and misunderstand, most of the days of our lives.
“As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” Matthew 21:1-3
“Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”
They replied, “The Lord needs it.”
They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it.” Luke 19:32-35
The donkey. It was there. The one with the colt. It was waiting for Him from before time began.
He had likely traveled this way to Bethlehem before His birth, hidden safe within the folds of Mary’s quiet anticipation. He had journeyed then to Bethlehem, the city of kings, to be born the one true King of Heaven and Earth. And from the moment He breathed His first breath through burning infant lungs He was hated and hunted and misunderstood.
Now He prepares to ride again astride this humble beast. A King, about to inherit His Kingdom.
And everything Jesus did this day spoke, even when He didn’t. When He sent His disciples to commandeer the donkey, with the four words ‘the lord needs them’ there was no other way to understand it: it was the act of a King.
And this choice of a colt, the not-yet-ridden foal of a donkey, It wasn’t about transportation. It was an unmistakeable, unmissable message sent directly to all Jewish hearts. A message planted centuries before this moment, deep within their national story in writings of the prophet Zechariah.
“Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
I will take away the chariots from Ephraim
and the warhorses from Jerusalem,
and the battle bow will be broken.
He will proclaim peace to the nations.
His rule will extend from sea to sea”
This song pinned into the folds of time had woven within Jewish culture a clear understanding that the Messiah, the true King of Israel would one day arrive this way. On a donkey. Righteous. Victorious. Lowly. Proclaiming peace.
There is no other way to understand this. He rode that day as a King. Because He was one.
It’s strange though how we can read the same words on a page but completely miss the author’s intent (that author being God Himself). It’s mysterious how we can be so close to God in the words we speak, and so far from Him in our living of those words.
Jesus didn’t choose a war horse or chariot. He didn’t choose power or show. Centuries before this day His choice was made. He chose this lowly donkey. He chose humility and peace. He chose the large and long and wide and deep story that God had been writing from before time began. About Him.
The Prince of Peace.