A Humble Donkey
By Cindy Patience
Volume 18 Number 1 Jan/Feb/Mar 2017 Issue 70
Don’t you just love spring? The birds sing and flowers grow. The squirrels scamper around happily chattering and climbing through the branches. Everything God created seems to come to life.
All through the Scriptures God talks about his creation. God said that the animals and plants were made by him for our good.
One of the creatures we think about on Palm Sunday is the simple little donkey. The donkey seems to be a favorite creature in the Scriptures. Abraham had many donkeys, and the ancient temple priests in the Old Testament were commanded to sacrifice a lamb for every new foal born to a donkey. So, they must have been considered special animals in some way.
Jesus riding the colt of a donkey into Jerusalem was foretold by many prophets. They had prophesied that the Messiah would come riding a colt, the foal of a donkey. You can read this story in Matthew 21:1-9.
Donkeys are often considered dumb or stubborn, but are actually very smart. They are also very careful and think things through before acting, which sometimes makes them seem to be stubborn. Donkey colts are particularly slow and thoughtful because they are still learning who and what to trust.
While donkeys were a symbol of humility and poverty, they also were a symbol of knowledge, courage, and peace. So when Jesus chose the humble donkey to carry him into Jerusalem, he was choosing a slow and careful animal that would not harm the people who would crowd in to see him. The donkey symbolized his knowledge, his courage, and his peaceful nature. Though the donkey usually symbolized poverty, it also symbolized the richness of the House of David. Jesus came from the House of David.
If the donkey Jesus rode upon had the ability to think in words, maybe it would have shared the words in this poem. Maybe the poem can even help you to think about why God uses us to do his will.
“Why me?” the little donkey thought, as he carried our Lord that day.
“My mother is much stronger and doesn’t fear the way.
Yet, he chose me, a foal, to ride through Jerusalem’s gates.”
And as gently, he takes the reins, a joyful crowd awaits.
“Who is this man I bear, and why do the people sing,
Hosannas to this humble soul as if he were a King?
And why does he enter meekly, upon a donkey low,
Instead of proudly marching with grandeur and great show?”
No royal robe upon his back, nor on his head a crown.
Yet, as he passes by, throngs lay their branches down.
“Why should I be chosen to carry this “Royal One?”
Who am I to bear a king bravely called “David’s Son?”
Now comes to me the answer, as he gently strokes my mane,
It’s been foretold by prophets past that he would take the rein,
Just as the humble donkey carried Abraham’s sacrificial wood,
To offer up his only son, who was obedient and good.
As then a lamb was sent instead, now a Lamb is sent to die.
Riding upon this donkey’s back, he’s sent for you and I.
“I gladly carry this last sacrifice; for now there’ll be no more.
He is the final Lamb of God who will open heaven’s door.”
“Why me?” I ask again…. The answer now rings true.
I proclaim, “Because he loves me, and because he asked me to!”