The image of Jesus entering Jerusalem, created by Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin, may at first glance appear stationary and without expression of emotion by the Palm Sunday worshipers. However, at the same time, this painting is also dominated by Jesus in his majesty.
Matthew 21 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, ‘Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.’
1 Timothy 6 17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
Why own what you can borrow? At the mere suggestion of this, our modern ears are dumbfounded. That’s just not the way we do it anymore.
Perhaps if Jesus had been a modern preacher, he might have made an impassioned plea for money to buy his own triumphal entry donkey. We can almost hear his rhetoric: "Step right up! We must raise a hundred denarii to buy this strong, young, triumphal-entry donkey. Cash, cheques, or debit cards welcome. Be a part of this world-changing event—the triumphal entry. If your pledge is large enough, this marvellous beast can even be named after you!"
But Jesus was not out to own a donkey. The kingdom could be served best, in fact, if Jesus owned nothing. So he only borrowed the donkey. He merely wanted it as a means of making a statement. He was only going to use it as a way of declaring that the Messiah was on earth. He required it in order to fulfil the words of Zechariah 9:9. After that, the prophecy would be fulfilled and the donkey could be returned to its owner.
Strangely, the owner seemed quite happy to loan it to him. He made no requirement to be recognised as the donor? He marked no little plaque which read “Donkey courtesy of….” Something we own even now may be of use to Jesus. Let us be swift and generous in the surrender of all our gifts to him.
Lord, as I see you approaching the cross, I am amazed at your continual willingness to sacrifice, to be obedient, to remain content. How I wish to be the same! What is it that I have not yet surrendered? Help me to freely give it. Let your single enticement – "The Master has need of it" -lead me to respond instantly to your request. May nothing else need be said.