In our ongoing series, on the lessons to be gleaned from "Palm Sunday" we come today to 2 more...


Puzzle...

Tempering Matthew's "puzzling" account of Jesus riding on two donkeys (See Matt. 21:1-10) with the other Gospels, which state that He rode on a single donkey, some of the Bible commentators state with rightful  conviction that while Jesus rode on a donkey's colt into Jerusalem, the "senior" donkey followed riderless right behind. The 'junior' donkey (donkey's colt) is reasoned by the seasoned scholars to represent the church, birthed 1500 years after Judaism was established, which accepts Jesus Christ. The riderless donkey, then, represents Judaism, who has rejected Christ. 


Peace...

Culturally and socially during Biblical times, a king astride a donkey symbolized the "peace mission", whereas a king riding on a horse symbolized "war". The "peace" mission of Christ which would be accomplished four days later on the Cross, would pave the way for a peaceful reconciliation between not only Holy God and unholy man (See 2 Cor. 5:21/1Tim. 2:5), but also between Jews and Gentiles (See Eph. 2:14-19) as well as the physically impaired and the healthy ones who would all be now one in Christ (See Is. 56:3-7/Acts 8:26-40).


Pitfalls...

Say Preacher, is your popularity soaring? What better time than now to recall the wise words of Sadhu Sundar Singh, especially in the context of all the unexpected popularity that came the way of the unsuspecting "little donkey" on this momentous occasion. I am quoting his words verbatim here below:

"When Jesus entered Jerusalem the people spread their clothes in the way and strewed branches before Him in order to do Him honour. Jesus rode upon an ass, according to the word of the prophet. His feet did not touch the road which was decorated in His honour. It was the ass which trod upon the garments and the branches. But the ass would have been very foolish to have been uplifted on that account; for the road really was not decked in its honour! It would be just as foolish if those who bear Christ to men were to think anything of themselves because of what men do to them for the sake of Jesus."

Doubtless, these words need to not so much be inked, but rather, be engraved in the hearts and minds of every servant of God. It would serve every servant of the Master well to remember that he/she is being respected, not because of his/her profession, but because of his/her association with the Master's work. Look at the Apostle Paul's self-worded "score-card" of his ministry: "For I am the least of all the apostles...it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace." (1 Cor. 15:9,10 NLT)

Take heed, messenger of God's word! With popularity can come some pitfalls. The next time people pat you on your back for your "marvellous sermon", praise God for placing the message in your heart and counting you worthy of taking it to the world. Otherwise, you could well end up making a proverbial "ass" of yourself! The words of John the Baptist are so important for us to remember the words quoted from Sadhu Sundar Singh: "'He must increase, I must decrease' (John 3:30 BSB) ought to be the "watchword" for every Servant of God at all times."

While on the subject, it would not be out of place to muse on yet another simple yet profound truth. Wasn't the Donkey which carried Jesus to Jerusalem first "untied", and then only "used" for His glory? How true in a Christian's life too! First one has to be "set free" from the chains of sin before he/she is put into "service" of being "a carrier" (read witness) to the outside, watching World (See Acts 8:25). 

Prayer: Father, we praise and thank Thee for all the lessons You are teaching us from "Palm Sunday". When it comes to application of these lessons, enable us not to be only "mere listeners" but also "doers". In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries

(To access the entire "Lessons From Palm Sunday" mini-series, please click here.)