Posted: 26 Mar 2012 06:04 AM PDT
"Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written: 'Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt!' His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him" (John 12:15-16).
This passage is one the most poignant and identifiable passages in the Bible. At this special time of year it becomes the focus of our spiritual life. It praises Jesus as Savior as he enters into Jerusalem and reminds us how Jesus has entered into our lives as well.
The story has often been viewed from the perspectives of the crowd, the apostles, or Jesus himself. But one of God's creatures is seldom considered—the donkey and the significant role he plays.
Why was Jesus riding a donkey? Today, donkeys are not considered a very regal animal for the Messiah to be riding. Two thousand years ago, however, the donkey was considered the creature of kings in times of peace. Horses and camels were for warriors and aggressors due to their size and speed. Donkeys were smaller, more docile, and slower paced. They were very desirable, treasured animals known for their patience, gentleness, intelligence, great power of endurance, and ability to develop one-on-one relationships with humans. A donkey's relationships are based on trust; its reputation of "stubbornness" comes because a donkey has to have confidence in a person before it will obey. This donkey trusted Jesus without any reservations.
John mentions that Jesus found a "young donkey." Luke 19:30 and Mark 11:2 state, "You will find a colt that has never been ridden." What is the significance of a young donkey or a colt that has never been ridden? No one else has had an opportunity to ride it; therefore, Jesus will be its first rider. During Jesus' time, a king's mount was reserved only for him; that creature could never be ridden by anyone else. Jesus as Savior has a place of honor that is reserved for no one else but him. He is the first and only; no one else has been or ever will be worthy of that position.
During this holy season of Lent, let us be reminded that Jesus is the one and only Savior and that he sits in a place of honor that cannot be occupied by anyone else. Like the donkey, we can create a one-on-one trusted relationship with Jesus, who is always gentle and patient with us.
Tom Schneider, member of Marble Collegiate