In Palm Sunday’s Gospel, we heard about Jesus, the King of the Universe preparing to enter the holy city of Jerusalem, but to the human eye, there are many contradictions of a king entering the city let alone a great victorious king.
“You will find a colt tied, whereon no man ever yet sat”
- In the Old Testament of Numbers 19:2, we read, An animal used for religious purposes must be without blemish and “on which yoke has never been laid”.
- In Mathew’s account, we read, “A colt” which could mean either a horse or donkey, but John 12:14 specifically mentions a donkey—as Zechariah 9:9, states: “Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King comes to you! He is righteous, and having salvation; lowly, and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
- A donkey is a humble mount, and the colt of a donkey even more so and could barely carry a full-grown man.
- Donkeys are smaller than horses, not as fast or responsive as horses, and unsuitable for battle.
- Kings would never ride colts or donkeys, a king would ride a full-grown horse, well-trained, responsive to his commands. A horse worthy of a king would be chosen for its strength, spirit, and, appearance. The size and beauty of the king’s horse bear testimony to the king’s importance.
- A man mounted on a large, spirited horse is an intimidating presence, and enemies would think twice before attacking a man so mounted.
- Jesus is the king of the Universe, but he is a different kind of king, the kind of king who rides a donkey colt, a king who comes in peace, comes to serve, came to die for our sins. Just as a king’s large, spirited war horse sends a message about the man who rides it, so does Jesus’ donkey colt send a message about him. A king on a donkey, who he is, what is his purpose in coming?
When the two disciples go to fetch the colt, the owners ask, “Why are you untying the colt?” (v. 33). The disciples respond as Jesus directed, saying, “The Lord needs it” (v. 34).
- End of discussion, no more talk needed. The owners allow the disciples to take the colt, this shows the power of Jesus’ authority.
“They threw their cloaks on the colt and set Jesus on them” (v. 35).
- A king not only rides a great horse but also sits astride an impressive saddle often adorned in gold and jewels. But not, Jesus, the humble king, he sits astride a saddle thrown together with his disciples’ cloaks.
I tell you, that if these people were silent, the stones would cry out” (v. 40).
- This shows us that God stands behind Jesus’ kingship. He never leaves his side just as God never leaves us. It is God who sent the angels and shepherds to proclaim Jesus’ birth, and now, the time has come for the world to know Jesus as Messiah. God will not allow the created world to be silent now that Jesus’ time has come.
- We know all of creation should be glorifying God, but we as humans are the only ones given the privilege of glorifying Him by being made in His image and likeness.
- As we enter into Holy Week let us remember and pray, that we may grow to glorify Him, non-stop today and every day.
There are many legends of how the donkey got a cross on its back. I believe it is a gift from Jesus as a way of showing the faithfulness of the humble donkey who carried him into Jerusalem. I saw this Nubian donkey at a county fair and couldn’t resist taking his photo.