April 10, 2017/Horse? Or Donkey?

My daughter had her horse in her wedding.

Considering that we lived in a small suburban town, that might confuse you a bit. My daughter had decided long before she met the man she would marry that her horse would be part of her wedding. She was (and still is) HORSE CRAZY! So much so that she rode her horse to her wedding (led by her father). There she was in her wedding gown sitting upon her horse riding up two blocks to cross a main street, jump off, and go into the church to be married. After the ceremony, she jumped back on and her new husband led her back to our house where we have the formal wedding portrait: the bridesmaids, the bride, the horse, the groom, the ushers, and the ring bearer and flower girl in front all standing in our back yard. It is still one of my favorite pictures!

Yesterday, Christians celebrated Christ’s arrival in Jerusalem. This week is the holiest one in the Christian calendar.

Now is our celebration of Jesus reaching the zenith of His ministry one moment, only to suffer the agony of His crucifixion in a few days in order to bring who believe eternal salvation.

God has His plans for us arranged down to the last detail—-one of which was how His son would arrive in Jerusalem.

The Old Testament prophet Zechariah had written: Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.

As it was foretold, Jesus instructs His disciples about His manner of entering the Holy City with very specific instructions. Matthew 21:1-3 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.

What is interesting here is the attention to HOW Jesus would arrive in Jerusalem. The people are proclaiming Him King. They are spreading palms in the streets to show their adoration….for the moment.

Yet, Jesus does not come riding a horse, or standing in a charior, as one might expect of a king.

Jesus comes on a donkey.

Donkeys are funny creatures. They are strong, intelligent, have a strong sense of self-protection, and don’t startle easily. They are also the original ‘beasts of burden’ as they can make their way through rougher terrain than horses.

They are also considered more ‘lowly’ than the horse.

Horses have been valued for centuries for their ability to carry men into war…and that, I believe is why God made the decision to have Jesus proclaimed to be king riding on the lowly donkey. Here, He is saying, is my Son who comes on a mission of  peace, not war. Here is the illustration of how great My love is for humanity. It is as if He is telling us: “You, (humanity) who think of nothing but earthly accolades, possessions, and power; You who believe your fighting of wars will bring you glory, riches, and safety, are being given the chance to commune with your Creator for eternity IF you will heed the teachings and sacrifice of My Son Jesus.”

God’s plan developed as He knew it would–not a horse of war would His son ride…but a donkey of grace and peace.

The adoration of the crowds will quickly change to a thirst for blood.

The shouting of joy will fade before the palms dry on the dusty paths.

The blood sacrifice that is about to be given, however, lives on as Christians witnessed yesterday when their fellow believers were killed while at worship in Egypt.

Humanity claims to yearn for peace but practices war daily…for true peace can only come through God’s Son Jesus who spilled His blood and rose again so that all who believe might live again!

Those murdered for their faith yesterday are already sitting at the feet of our Lord. Let us not forget to pray that we may remember their families in prayer but rejoice that we have been given God’s grace to ride donkey’s rather than horses and claim the faith to follow Christ rather than ‘crowds’…

 

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