Monday, April 14, 2014

My King Rides a Donkey

My King rides a donkey. Saying these words sounds a little silly. Who would follow a king riding a donkey? There’s nothing kingly about riding a donkey.
It’d be easier and probably there’d be more followers if the King came riding in on a white stallion like Hopalong Cassidy’s. Jesus wasn’t that kind of king.
Jesus had a different agenda. His was a triumphal entry, just not triumphant over another nation. The people didn’t know it yet, Jesus was going against Evil and he was going to win. He was going to defeat sin and death for everyone in the world. It was God’s free gift. That’s why he came riding in on a donkey.
It may have been in response to Zechariah’s prophecy in chapter 9 beginning with verse 9…
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.
10 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
    and from the River to the ends of the earth.”
You see, Zechariah knew many years ago that the Messiah was going to bring peace not war to the world. That’s why Jesus, our King, came riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. Jesus came to bring peace into the world, our world.
So, what’s gone wrong? If there are so many professing Christians in the world and they believe that Jesus came so that we might have eternal life and he was all about love and peace, why is there still war? Doesn’t it make you wonder?
A friend, Steve Plank, posted a cartoon on Facebook this week titled, “What Would Jesus Not Do?” Some of the things listed were harass single moms, beat homosexuals, picket their funerals, join a militia, own a weapon, burn a cross, hate his enemies, attack the poor, or put his name on merchandise.
Quite a few years ago I read a book called “In His Steps” written by Charles Sheldon. That book has sold over 30 million copies. It was about a pastor challenging his congregation to not do anything for one year without asking the question, “What would Jesus do?” 
When we read the gospel stories we soon see that Jesus wasn’t a warrior king. No, he was a king on a donkey, a peace-loving king. He came to Jerusalem with an agenda but it wasn’t to overthrow the powers that were in control of the city as some hoped the Messiah would do.
Jesus came with love for everyone in the world. He came riding on a donkey and because of that he presents some challenges for us not unlike the challenges of the pastor in Charles Sheldon’s book.
Jesus, since he loved the world he’d created so much, through his life challenges us to see humor in even the darkest times of our lives. We receive a diagnosis of cancer, our sister dies, a little girl dies in Omaha. It’s not easy to find the joy or humor in any of these instances.
Yet, Jesus came riding on a donkey with a smile on his face even though he knew he was going to die a gruesome death on a cross in a little more than days’ time. How could he do that? How does God expect us to do that?
I don’t have a really good answer for that other than to tell you because of what Jesus did for you and me Death no longer has any power over your life or my life. Because Jesus died carrying our sins on his shoulders to the cross Death is only a doorway to eternal life.
Knowing that doesn’t make it any easier for us to believe because the Evil One is always putting doubts in our minds. What if it’s not true? What if God’s not real? What if he doesn’t really love us unconditionally? What if?
That’s the challenge we have when we decide to follow our King on a donkey. Even when we don’t know how it’s all going to be in the end, through the power of God’s Holy Spirit we go on in faith because of the promise Jesus made to the disciples that one day he is going to return to take all of us home.
This week as we walk with Jesus through his last hours let’s remember his promise and know in our hearts that God’s love is enough. It will always be enough.

Thanks be to God for his love and grace. Amen.

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