Friday, April 7, 2017


“Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy…”  (John 12:14 NLT)

Riding on a donkey is a richly symbolic act, and one that goes back to King David, the prototypical Jewish king. The royal animal David rode was not a steed but a donkey, which was more sure-footed than a horse on the rocky, hilly terrain of Palestine, and able to travel farther on less water. The donkey, moreover, was a humble beast reflecting David’s identity as a shepherd king. Davidic kings from that time on rode donkeys or mules to identify with David.

Even more important for the Palm Sunday story is the prophetic Zechariah’s promise, given to the Jews five hundred years before the time of Christ: “Rejoice, greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9 NRSV) Everyone in the crowd would have known these words and their promise of who would come riding on a donkey, so that when Jesus met up with His disciples and mounted the donkey, the people knew instantly what was happening. He was giving a clear signal that He was the long-awaited King promised by the prophets. Finally, Jesus was openly proclaiming He was the Messiah!

-- Adam Hamilton in “The Way: Following in the Footsteps of Jesus”


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