March 28, 1999

Matthew 21:1-11

When Jesus and his disciples came near Jerusalem, he went to Bethpahge on the Mount of Olives and sent two of them on ahead. He told them, "Go into the next village, where you will at once find a donkey and her colt. Untie the two donkeys and bring them to me. If anyone asks why you are doing that, just say, The Lord needs them. Right away he will let you have the donkeys."

So Gods promise came true, just as the prophet had said,
     Announce to the people of Jerusalem:
     Your king is coming to you!
     He is humble and rides on a donkey.
     He comes on the colt of a donkey.

The disciples left and did what Jesus had told them to do. They brought the donkey and its colt and laid some clothes on their backs. Then Jesus got on.

Many people spread clothes in the road, while others put down branches, which they had cut from trees. Some people walked ahead of Jesus and others followed behind. They were all shouting,
     Hooray for the Son of David!
     God bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
     Hooray for God in heaven above!

When Jesus came to Jerusalem, everyone in the city was excited and asked, "Who can this be?"

The crowd answered, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee." [CEV]


1. A king on a donkey! This is incongruous. Kings are supposed to come on big equestrian chargers. One tradition has it that this scene is an announcement that the king is coming for peaceful purposes, not war-like activities.
     A less traditional image is a variation on the Emperor's New Clothes. This image shows the nakedness of power and control. Donkey riding reminds one of how little power and control they have. Our images of GOD's conquering power are probably mistaken when they have us lording it over someone else.

2. A donkey and a colt would be valuable commodities in a village. To give them over would be no small task. Did the master of these animals have a previous experience with Jesus? Were one of the master's relatives healed by Jesus? Was this therefore an expected transaction or was it an out-of-the-blue experience? Does that make a difference for the way you hold your property? Are you holding things in trust, ready to give them up? Do you expect to make a profit on your holdings in this lifetime and only give if you can get better than tit-for-tat?

3. Speaking of animal connections: can you play like a lowly cuckoo in a clock? Here is the variation: instead of simply going "cuckoo", can you announce each hour with - "Hooray for God in heaven above!" You will find an experiment of doing this for three days (as a starting point) will transform your life. To live from the position of "Hooray for God in heaven above" will change you and those you encounter. Try it, you'll like it.

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