The donkey was there that day.
The donkey was there that day that Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem before the events surrounding Holy Week transpired.
The disciples had gone into the next village to retrieve a donkey and her colt. This was just as Jesus had instructed and to fulfil Zechariah’s prophecy.
The disciples placed their cloaks on the donkey for Jesus to sit on. The crowd spread their cloaks and palm fronds on the road ahead of Jesus and shouted, “Hosanna, Hosanna.”
The donkey was there that day when the crowds explained, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
The donkey was there that day when God put in motion His plans that Jesus, as our heavenly king, would save us from our sins.
The Legend of the Donkey
The story goes, that the donkey so loved Jesus that it followed Him to Calvary. However, the donkey was grief stricken at the sight of Jesus suffering. He remained at his station at the foot of the cross but couldn’t watch and turned away.
The shadow of the cross fell upon him and today all purebred donkeys have a cross across their back.
Remember the Cross
I have my own story-telling donkey in the corral, a miniature donkey named Gus-Gus who does indeed have a cross on his back.
He begins the story when his cross-laden body greets me and asks me to “remember the cross.”
I also find it heart wrenching to think of Jesus’ pain and suffering at the cross. But I don’t want to turn away lest I minimize His sacrifice and my need for a Savior. Yes, he died for the sins of the whole world, but right now I think of my contribution to the events that enfolded all those years ago.
I ponder what I call “pet sins.” I think of pet sins as those things that I know are wrong, but I excuse them freely without much thought or splatters of conscious. I issue myself an unlimited number of free passes from the guilt of those pet sins.
I can convince myself that they are nothing too terrible or “it’s just who I am.” I worry though that if they become commonplace in my mind that I won’t see them anymore.
My pet sins are numerous. I count amongst them mixed up priorities and a shuttered mouth when I should freely speak of my faith.
His Cross Covers Me
As I look back to the donkey, I think of this lowly animal. My Gus-Gus is a humble guy. Outside of a scheduled supper, he never demands attention but is steady, stalwart and willingly does as we ask.
The donkey’s humility contradicts its greatness as a faithful servant.
I like to imagine that the donkey on Palm Sunday held his head a little higher. That maybe he knew what an important role he played that day as he carried Jesus into the city.
I like to imagine it that way because my heart became lighter with the events that arose after Palm Sunday on the cross of Gethsemane.
No longer do I see the pain and suffering, but victory.
From the cross I see, Jesus’ abiding love for me.
From the cross I see, his death on the cross that covers me. My sins blotted out and finally free.
The weight of my sins is gone, but I remain marked by the cross. My mark now says “Redeemed.”
With the cross, “to live is Christ.” Hosanna!