Matthew 21:1-11: Donkey
February 24, 2021
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Jesus comes to claim his royal throne—and what an extraordinary way to do it.
“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’” (21:5)
Jesus is deliberately coming into Jerusalem not as a military conqueror, but as the Messiah. That was not what they had expected. Humble. Riding on a donkey.
The crowds greet him with Messianic adulation: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (21:9)
And all seems well, until we hear Matthew’s (weary?) notice of what the crowds were actually saying about Jesus: “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee” (21:11).
They still don’t understand who Jesus is. For them he is still merely a prophet.
Right at the heart of the Christian faith is a King riding on a donkey. When we come to Christ, we come humbly, and when we follow Christ, we follow a humble King. The way up is the way down; no cross, no crown. Bend your knee, lift up your eyes. It is the valley which is the place of vision. There is the cross, the Christ, and the crucified (counter-intuitive) victory.
We do not as the church march in to take the country by military force. We have a crucified Christ to proclaim, a donkey-riding King to follow.
What a glorious thing that he is such a King! He came to serve! He is the King! Let us bow the knee and worship the King mounted on a donkey.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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