So, picture this. It is the last week of Jesus’ life and the day He decides to be acknowledged as the Son of God. He is finally allowing people to acknowledge that He is “Hosanna in the Highest!” (Which means “please save”).
We read as this plays out, and Jesus, preparing to make His big entrance through Jerusalem, He chooses His method of transportation: a colt (which is a young donkey).
Not like a giant white stallion or huge elephant or something extraordinary?
Nope. A young donkey.
He tells two of His disciples, “Go into the village in front of you and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt that no man had ridden” (Mark 11:2)
I don’t know about you, but typically when I think of a king, I picture Him sitting on a fancy clothed white horse or a riding on a decked out elephant like Aladdin.
After all, just about every show about a king I have seen on Netflix, proves my theory ;)
But our Jesus, the Messiah? Nah…He chose to enter on a baby donkey.
I was tempted to glance over these verses, but I feel like there is so much fruit to gain if we pause here and check out a few lessons I believe we can learn from this.
The first lesson this shows us, is the proof of the inspiration of the Bible
One of my favorite things about the Bible is its proof of inspiration. Part of the proof is the way in which prophecies in the Old Testament were fulfilled in the new with extreme accuracy. Jesus fulfilled in minute detail over 300 prophecies that relate to the coming of the Messiah.
What are the chances of that?
Mathematician W. Stoner calculated the odds of only 8 prophecies accidentally being fulfilled and demonstrated the likely hood with this example: Take 1017 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state 2 feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Slim right? Same goes with the chance of the Bible accidentally having over 300 fulfilled prophecies.
In this passage, Jesus perfectly fulfills a prophecy in Zechariah 9:9, who prophesied the coming of a king “righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
The book of Mark does not specifically mention this prophecy because He is writing to a primary Gentile audience. But Matthew, as he writes to a Jewish audience, mentions it in Matthew 21:1-11.
Fulfilled prophecies are a primary example of how we know the Bible is the inspired Word of God. No other book in the entire world could demonstrate this quality.
It is not possible that Isaiah, an ordinary man, could have accurately predicted the birth of Jesus on his own. It is not possible that he could have provided the level of detail that we read in Isaiah 7 and 53 on his own.
Not only that but his words occurred over six hundred years prior to their fulfillment. Such an act is completely beyond mere human capability and origin.
The only explanation is the influence of an omnipresent, omnipotent, supernatural God who breathed out His word and left it behind for us.
This is the type of knowledge we must keep in the back of our pockets when the world tries to tell us God’s word is not reliable or true.
Our faith doesn’t have to simply be based on our feelings, it can be based on facts.
The second lesson I believe we can learn is that God tends to save us in ways we least expect.
In this case, the Jews expected much more from their king. As a result, they ended up denying Him as their Messiah and crucified Him.
Would we have done the same?
To be honest, I always pictured Jesus as handsome and majestic.
But scripture tells us “he had no beauty or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire Him.”
I can’t help but wonder if I would have failed to see Him in front of me because I was expecting someone else.
It is vital to remember that God tends to show up in ways and people we would never expect.
In these eyes of the world:
Abraham would have been too old.
Moses would have been unequipped to speak.
Rahab couldn’t have possibly be used for God’s glory as a prostitute.
Jeremiah and Timothy were far too young.
David had an affair and was a murderer… he couldn’t possibly be used…
Peter? He denied Christ (3 times!)
And Jesus? A carpenter, riding on a donkey, born of a virgin.
He couldn’t possibly be the Son of God…
“Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.” Mark 6:3
God used each individual to accomplish His will and shows that He tends to use the seemingly ordinary to accomplish extraordinary things.
Many of us might be offended that a lifesaving message doesn’t come from a perfectly dressed preacher in a pulpit with a tight tie and freshly pressed suit.
But the truth is, sometimes it might just come from a lowly carpenter, born in a manger, riding through town on a donkey.
Let us not miss the qualities of Our Savior in others because they do not fit the mold we are expecting.
The final lesson I believe we can gather is that God anticipates our needs.
I love how this is beautifully demonstrated in vs 3 s Jesus anticipates the needs of His disciples when He sends them to gather the colt He was planning to ride by saying,
“If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’”
And then in vs 5, sure enough, the situation happens:
“And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6 And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them.
Jesus knew their needs before they did and He equipped them for the situation they would face. They trusted Him enough to do exactly as He said.
In the same way, God is not sending us into the unknown to complete a mission without knowing the dangers we will meet along the way. He provides mercies to overcome the daily trials He know will come, even before we start the journey. Do we trust Him as the disciples did?
Furthermore, scripture does not command us to do we are not incapable of doing. God has equipped us with the tools we need in His Word. We can walk in faith knowing that we will be equipped for every battle when we arm ourselves with the Word of God and His Spirit.
Sisters, I hope this encourages you to have confidence in the Word of God, remember that God uses ordinary people to accomplish His extraordinary work, and walk confidently in the fact that we are equipped for every work we are called to do.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:17
“Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21equip you with every good thing to do His will. And may He accomplish in us what is pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:21