As we started tonight, you helped reenact one of the biggest moments in the life of Jesus, which was when he enters Jerusalem, which was the center of his culture, the center of his religion, the center of his economy—really the center of his world—as its new King. It was like a big inaugural day parade. Now, every four years when we have our Inauguration Day parades, we like to have our president ride in a black Escalade with a flag flapping on each front corner of the hood. In Jesus’ day, before the internal combustion engine, their equivalent of the Escalade was the donkey. I had never noticed until I started studying our text, Mark 11, that the way Mark tells the story, the donkey takes up half the story. How Jesus gets the donkey is apparently very important. And the only words that we get from Jesus about this momentous moment in his life are not “How did you feel about the crowd surrounding you with praise and calling you the promised King, Messiah, and the Deliverer.” What we hear is, “Here is how you’re going to get the donkey.” So it’s a strange detail, but it’s not one we can run past.
So I want to answer two questions tonight. One is why does Jesus need this donkey, and two, why does he get it in such an unusual way. Because I think by going kind of behind the scenes for those two questions, it shows us something that we might otherwise miss about Jesus. It also challenges you and me in how we respond to Jesus.
Why does Jesus need the donkey? This day, God’s people have been praying about earnestly for almost a hundred years. They have been under the boot of Rome. They have no king because the enemy Roman army who is occupying ...
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