Sunday’s meditation by Henri Nouwen was titled “Christ on a Donkey.” I can easily picture Jesus in my mind riding on a donkey into Jerusalem because of recently seeing a lot of donkeys at work.
Last October, my wife and I visited Egypt and Jordan for several weeks. There we saw many people riding donkeys or donkeys pulling small carts in the countryside and even in Cairo itself. The donkeys were very small and always looked over-burdened with the people and loads they were carrying. They looked gentle and willing to serve as required without protest.
Jesus, as he approached the cross, had an appointment with a donkey. As prophesied in the Old Testament (Zech. 9:9), the Messiah as King was to ride into Jerusalem on a donkey. The Messiah was also prophesied in Isaiah to come as a suffering servant. Furthermore many theologians believe the day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem as King was exactly prophesied by Daniel (69 weeks of years) when counted from the commandment to rebuild the temple in Nehemiah’s time.
Because they were aware of the Old Testament prophesies, the Jewish people of Jesus’ day expected the Messiah to come during their lifetimes. Somehow they forgot the Messiah was to come on a donkey, be a servant to the people, and reign as King in their hearts.
As I think about Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey and the expectations of the Jewish people, I wonder what my expectation is of the King. I also wonder when Jesus has an appointment with me if I, like the donkey, am willing to accept my burdens with gentleness, serve without protest, and come when the Master says “I have need of thee.”