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Riding a Donkey! Did Jesus Need An Image Consultant?

donkeyheadJust listened to Tim Keller’s Palm Sunday sermon from this year. It fits so well into our discussion about “A Different Kind of Rescue.” I’m going to take us there.

Some new and wonderful thoughts for me — perhaps for you too, to strengthen you in your journey.

Read Luke 19:28-44

1. When Jesus told the disciples he was going to ride into Jerusalem, they probably thought, “At last!” They no doubt pictured him coming on a great white horse triumphantly — like Revelation (and Martin French’s drawing a few posts back) says he will one day return. How might they have felt when he chose, instead, a colt like the one pictured here?

2. Meditate on verse 30. How do most animals who have never been ridden react when a rider mounts them? What did this colt understand?

3. What thoughts do you have about the owner giving up the colt so easily. What did the Spirit help him understand?

4. Describe the crowd — why were they so excited? What kind of rescue did they expect?

5. Describe the interchange between the Pharisees and the disciples in verses 39-40.

6. How is Jesus Lord of all creation? Though the rescue you are experiencing right now may not be the kind of rescue you longed for, what truths can you speak to your soul based on this passage?

7. Michal Card has a song called “God’s Own Fool.” Share your thoughts or favorite renditions of that song.

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33 comments

  1. Dear Dee,
    Do you mean chapter 19 of Luke?

  2. Read Luke 19:28-44

    1. When Jesus told the disciples he was going to ride into Jerusalem, they probably thought, “At last!” They no doubt pictured him coming on a great white horse triumphantly — like Revelation (and Martin French’s drawing a few posts back) says he will one day return. How might they have felt when he chose, instead, a colt like the one pictured here?

    They were probably bewildered and confused because they were expecting their Savior to provide them with physical rescue, not be humble and a servant. The disciples undoubtedly wondered what was going on!

    2. Meditate on verse 30. How do most animals who have never been ridden react when a rider mounts them? What did this colt understand?

    Most animals resist and need to be trained in order to carry riders. The colt knew his own Creator was with him and let Jesus ride him with ease.

    3. What thoughts do you have about the owner giving up the colt so easily. What did the Spirit help him understand?

    The Spirit helped the owner understand that what Jesus requested was for a purpose, with authority. Given the urgency of the statement, “The Lord needs it”, the owner must have known it was something that needed utmost attention.

    4. Describe the crowd — why were they so excited? What kind of rescue did they expect?

    The crowd was waiting for a physical rescue and they were excited to be free from their oppressors.

    5. Describe the interchange between the Pharisees and the disciples in verses 39-40.

    The Pharisees told Jesus to rebuke His disciples, to which Jesus answered that if the disciples were quiet the stones would cry out… all because even the animals and stones, God’s creation, knew who He was better than the people did.

    6. How is Jesus Lord of all creation? Though the rescue you are experiencing right now may not be the kind of rescue you longed for, what truths can you speak to your soul based on this passage?

    I think it is so neat and amazing that this passage shows that all of creation – even stones and a colt – gave their testimony of who Jesus is, despite the ignorance of people. Because Jesus is Lord of all creation, all creation knows. There is nothing too small for Him… not even rocks that lay on the side of a road. He knows all about me because He is my Creator. I am infinitely understood and overwhelmingly loved! He is so patiently gentle with me, I must submit like the colt and cry out His praises as the rocks, as all of creation does day after day, as Psalm 19 discusses.

  3. Question #2 and #6: When I was a young girl we had a pony that was not broken. If she couldn’t get you off by running and bucking she would run to the nearest fence and force you off or simply stand still and refuse to move. I couldn’t help but chuckle at the memories of trying to ride that stubborn colt. This scripture reminded me that Jesus communicates with all creation, even animals. I can’t imagine a donkey with a cooperative bone in it’s body but I love picturing this colt obeying Jesus, it’s master. Jesus is the Lord of all creation, just like the winds and waves obeyed him so did the colt. The commentary I read says the donkey was unbroken and pure enough for a king to ride.

  4. I hope no one minds if I return to the questions from the last posting so that I may share!

    #2. Think about a time of suffering in your life.

    This would be the sudden and unexpected death of my nephew last
    July.

    A. Can you identify with the feelings of the two downcast disciples in
    the above account (Emmaus Road experience)?

    Yes, I can identify with their feelings because I wanted my nephew to be rescued from his circumstances in his life that had brought about his depression, hopelessness, and being caught in the trap of drug addiction; how he was throwing his life away. I remember feeling mad at God because I would hear testimonies of those who had been saved and transformed after years of drug or alcohol addictions, in fact, I still feel the sting of disappointment when I read of such deliverances.
    I am reading a book now by Fern Nichols on prayer, and in the book a young man is mentioned as a son going down the path to destruction, who was being prayed for, and he had a sudden, dramatic spiritual turnaround. I still pause and ask, “Oh, why not Thomas?” I don’t mean that I was let down that God helped others, but I wondered why He didn’t do that for Thomas?
    And the two disciples’ feelings that well, it was just all over. A hopeless situation that will never change. How they must have been overcome by the finality (or so they thought) of the situation. Jesus was gone. It was all over.

    B. As you look back now, how did that suffering work in your life to produce transformation?

    Well, I’m looking back, and I am still in the process, and am looking forward, too! The pain is still here, just not so raw as at first.
    This study has helped me learn how to work through grief, how to turn to God’s Word for this purpose, how to lament. I think of the truth I learned from looking at Job’s life that what God gives me is better than Him giving me all the answers to my questions of “Why” – He gives me Himself.
    I hope I have grown-up a little and matured as a believer. I know that has been my problem for a long time. I have alot of “head knowledge” but putting it into practice and living out my faith is my weakness. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, and my husband is not a believer. I always look about and use the excuse, “I don’t have any example of how to do this!” God wants me to “step up to the plate” and grow up. He can show me what to do from His Word.
    A very real example of this is I am having spiritual conversations with my mom and dad that I never had before. The other day, talking to my dad on the phone and he was asking me questions about God and heaven, and as we were ready to hang up, I said, “Dad, would you like me to pray with you before we hang up?” And he said, “Okay!” And we did!
    I’ve had to work through questions about my faith and decide do I really believe this? A huge issue for me has been prayer. I have felt guilt over if I had been praying more diligently for Thomas, would the outcome have been different?

    1. I can certainly identify with your guilt, Susan. I felt a similar guilt after my dad died. I thought I didn’t have enough faith to pray dad through, etc. The Lord showed me that my guilt was not from Him and that I was positioning myself in place of God as though I was in charge of dad’s fate. There is therefore now NO condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. I hope this encourages you.

      1. Thank you Kim, and yes, this does encourage me, especially the point you make about positioning myself in God’s place, as if I could have been in charge of Thomas’ fate, as much as you perhaps thought you could have been in charge of your dad’s fate.

  5. 3. Read Romans 8:28-29. What promise is given, and what will a real rescue look like?

    God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God. It does not say everything in my life will BE good. I see kind of a command here, that what I am to focus on is loving God. Loving Him even when tragedy strikes. The real rescue is being “conformed to the image of His Son”.

    4. If suffering produces character, why do we long to avoid it?

    Because it hurts. I want the spiritual maturity without the refining fire. I think it touches on my attitude of being able to manage my own life and handle myself the little bumps along the way. I personally struggle with self discipline and the disciplines of the faith. I’d much prefer to gain the rewards with no effort. But I’ve learned that is impossible.

    5. Has your attitude toward suffering changed?

    It is changing. I know, from an experience several years ago when I was the one suffering, that it was one of the best times I’ve ever had with the Lord. What I am learning how to deal with right now is fear. For me, when something overwhelming happens, as in death in my family, I am afraid. Some of the fear comes from my anxiously realizing that I have no power at all to do anything. Some of it is, I believe, an attack on me by the enemy. I know fear doesn’t come from God. Suffering is inevitable in life, and I want it to be an opportunity to get closer to God, to trust Him more and more, and to sit back and watch Him work amazing things in the midst of it.

    1. That is a good analogy, about we cannot “arm wrestle” with God.

      1. I like that analogy too, it is a great visual tool for me. Thank you, Dee.

        1. Same here. I think the analogy is very powerful.

  6. Thank you so much, Dee, for this insight.
    I have another book about praying for your children, called The Power of a Praying Parent, by Stormie Omartien. The problem I have is that some of the wording of books like these seem to suggest, and I’ll give an example, this book makes the statement, “What may or may not happen if we don’t pray?”
    Perhaps the author does not mean to suggest this, but the wording almost makes it sound as if the outcome of circumstances is up to us, that we can be the deciding factor by our prayers.
    I simply cannot understand the mystery of prayer! I know we are to pray, and that God does answer prayers, and that even when people pray every single day for something it may not be God’s will, and the answer will be “No”.
    Maybe it is to accept that the power of prayer still rests solely in God, and not our prayers themselves. In prayer we are asking, on our behalf or for someone else, for God to move. Yet maybe the most important part is that we are coming to Him for our needs, we keep talking to Him even when things are going wrong.
    On the other extreme, I know people who say, “Why bother to pray? God’s going to do what He wants to do anyway.” But then with that attitude we dismiss Him, and I know that’s not the right way to go.

    My dad has an appointment on Tuesday to see the pastor of my older sister’s church. Her name is Chris, and she will be taking my dad.
    Dad has been troubled lately, still in his grief over Thomas, that he wants to see her pastor and talk with him. Dad doesn’t go to church but his heart is soft toward God, so I am praying for God to do a mighty work here! He has been talking both to me and my sister Chris (Thomas’ aunt) about God and heaven and it was funny, last Thursday I had the thought that I should ask my dad if he would like to talk to the care pastor at my church, and I was sure he would agree; then I called my dad and he told me that he had just talked to Chris and he was going to meet with her pastor this coming Tuesday. She had suggested this to him, so we were both thinking the same thing and I believe the Lord laid it on our hearts!
    I would appreciate prayer for my dad, I am praying that Tuesday will be the day of salvation for my dad, and then my mom, too.

      1. Dear Jesus, We ask in your name and agree in prayer for the salvation of Susan’s parents. I pray you would give them a soft heart, ears that would hear and eyes that would open to truth. Send your Holy Spirit to do the work that only you can do. We love you and thank you, Lord.

      2. Lord I agree with my sisters in prayer for Susan’s parents. Thank you for Susan’s heart of love for her parents. This love makes it so painful to wait. We know that Your feelings are even more intense than Susan’s. That is why we know that You will do all things necessary to woo her parents to Yourself. We are so thankful for the softening of her father’s heart and his willingness to meet with this pastor. Lord may Your spirit be in the very center of that meeting. Please place a hedge of protection around them, keeping the enemy from interfering in any way. Prepare now the words that will be said. May Your name be glorified that Susan’s father may be drawn to you and make his decision to move from death to new life in Jesus Christ our Lord. Please reveal to him the hope of a life surrendered to You.
        Amen

        1. Dear Christ,

          I lift up Susan’s parents in prayer so that they will see the bright everlasting light of Your love and accept You as their Savior.

          In Christ I pray,
          Amen.

  7. Hello to all. I went away for the weekend which was nice. I will work the next 2 days and hopefully catch up in spare moments.

    1. I’m glad to hear your weekend away was nice! It’s so refreshing when we can recharge by a little time away from the daily routine. May God give you all the time you need to catch up on things this week.

  8. My eyes are filled with tears as I read all of your prayers here for my dad and mom. I also prayed through each of them to the Lord. Thank you so much for your heartfelt prayers.
    I posted before how the enemy attacks me with fear.
    I find strength and courage here, with sisters in Christ, and in not running away, but running to, our God.

    1. Thank you, Lord, that Dee has “thoughts (always!)” about what would be a good thing to write about or how to encourage others in their faith.

      Please fill her with the knowledge of your will through all Spiritual wisdom and understanding (Colossians 1:9) as she considers what to do with her blog after God of All Comfort.

      You are and You are a Rewarder of them that earnestly seek You (Hebrews 11:6) and we’re earnestly seeking You now on behalf of Dee and this blog. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

  9. I can relate to Susan’s question about prayer. My older son was 11 when his brother was born. Until that time I had been quite diligent in praying for him. With a new baby and then a toddler I allowed myself to be drawn away and did not remain faithful in prayer. By the time he was 16 he had slipped away from the Lord and I did not see it coming. It is so hard for me to confess this. Not only did I not pray but I was not as active in his life as I should have been. I have always felt that it was my fault that he turned away.

    I believe that all of the prayers I have ever prayed remain before God’s throne. I can see that many of them have been answered. The one for wisdom has been answered to a great extent. The prayer that he would remain single until he married the woman God has prepared for him has been answered so far. But the one that he would love God with all of his heart and never turn away from Him was not. He has turned away and it has been almost 10 years now. Some things just have to be the way they are. He has free will. But what God does is to show me step by step how to pray for him. It is a long and arduous process. I can not see what God is doing. Most of the time I can’t see that He is doing anything, but faith is the reality of what is hoped for and the proof of what is not seen. Of this God approves. That scripture gives me so much hope.

  10. In the song, “God’s Own Fool”, by Michael Card, that Dee suggested we listen to, the words in the first verse are:

    “Seems I’ve imagined Him all of my life
    As the wisest of all of mankind
    But if God’s Holy wisdom is foolish to men
    He must have seemed out of His mind”

    I was thinking he must have “seemed out of his mind” many times to his poor disciples when he requested this or commanded that, and one of those times may have been when he asked them to get that colt.

    They were practically stealing, just untying the colt, not seeking out who owned it, only offering an explanation if someone asked them about it. And I wonder if they didn’t feel foolish offering only that “the Lord needs it” as an explanation.

    “So we follow God’s own Fool
    For only the foolish can tell
    Believe the unbelievable,
    And come be a fool as well.”

    Here’s a link to Michael Card’s song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fXFIqHS9Ho

    And here’s the lyrics: http://www.lyricsdownload.com/michael-card-god-s-own-fool-lyrics.html

    Gloris

      1. You’re welcome, Dee,

        I just wanted to clarify: Gloriadelia (Gloria Dell ia) is the title of my devotional blog.

        My name is Gloris (Gloria and Doris mixed. Sounds like Doris with a Gl instead of a D). It’s a family name.

        Thanks again for this blog, Gloris

    1. So true! He is bigger and as I work through these questions I see what Job saw. I can’t do His work. It just doesn’t turn out good. Not at all.

  11. 1. The disciples may have been embarrassed and disappointed when Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem, but then again, this fit with His whole life and ministry. I find it hard to know what they thought about how Jesus would deliver them. What I know for sure is that they never imagined it would be the way He did. I would say that is what I can expect for my rescue also.

    2. Meditate on verse 30. How do most animals who have never been ridden react when a rider mounts them? As has already been stated, this is a beautiful picture of how God communicates with animals. What did this colt understand? He knew Jesus and I think loved His presence. He loved being ridden by Him, not only to serve Him but to be near Him. When I was in school I remember being taught about animal instincts and the mystery of how they knew what to do and when, like birds migrating and bears hibernating. We just could not understand it. Now I see that it is very simple really. God communicates with them. They obey His commands much better than people do. Maybe they can hear Him better. That sounds good but then what about the lion that kills and eats a person? Perhaps something changed with the fall.

    3. What thoughts do you have about the owner giving up the colt so easily? I was surprised to see that owner is actually plural. They must have been a family or some brothers there with the animal. It does not say whether or not they were disciples. I have had a tendency to think that they just mindlessly let the animal go (like the power of the force in Star Wars), but now that I think about it, I know that isn’t right. Maybe the Spirit helped them to understand that the Lord wanted the animal for His purpose and that it and they would be blessed by Him as His purpose was fulfilled.

    4. Describe the crowd — why were they so excited? The text describes the crowd as His disciples and they were praising Him loudly because of all the miracles they had seen (v 37). What kind of rescue did they expect? In verse 38 they praise Him as God’s King. They had seen His power and probably expected great displays of power for healing, deliverance from oppressive government and meeting of their physical needs.

    5. Describe the interchange between the Pharisees and the disciples in verses 39-40. They must have been a very rowdy crowd. Perhaps even leaning toward rioting, at least this seems to be what the Pharisees feared. They told Jesus to rebuke the crowd and He refused. He knew He had control of the situation but I think the Pharisees were afraid. I imagine that they knew Jesus was powerful enough to fulfill the wishes of the crowd. This is what I first thought but now I believe that the Pharisees wanted Jesus to rebuke them for blasphemy because they said He came in the name of the Lord.

    6. How is Jesus Lord of all creation? He commands it all. The owners, the animal and even the rocks will glorify Him. Though the rescue you are experiencing right now may not be the kind of rescue you longed for, what truths can you speak to your soul based on this passage? His purposes will be fulfilled in my life and that is a very good thing. I do not know what He is doing any more than I know how or what He spoke to that colt or the owners. As God showed Job, I can’t do His work. Only He can and only then is it good.

    7. I love this song and am so happy to be reminded of it. My favorite is when he is sitting at the piano. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvejyvnEidY I went back to the one that I have on recording and even though it was done in a recording studio, it just isn’t as good. He is older now and his voice is deeper and the inflections in some of the words are different.

    GOD’S OWN FOOL

    Seems I’ve imagined Him all of my life
    As the wisest of all of mankind
    But if God’s Holy wisdom is foolish to men
    He must have seemed out of His mind

    For even His family said He was mad
    And the priests said a demon’s to blame
    But God in the form of this angry young man
    Could not have seemed perfectly sane

    Chorus
    When we in our foolishness thought we were wise
    He played the fool and He opened our eyes
    When we in our weakness believed we were strong
    He became helpless to show we were wrong
    And so we follow God’s own fool
    For only the foolish can tell-
    Believe the unbelievable
    And come be a fool as well

    So come lose your life for a carpenter’s son
    For a madman who died for a dream
    And you’ll have the faith His first followers had
    And you’ll feel the weight of the beam
    So surrender the hunger to say you must know
    Have the courage to say I believe
    For the power of paradox opens your eyes
    And blinds those who say they can see

    Chorus

    So we follow God’s own Fool
    For only the foolish can tell
    Believe the unbelievable,
    And come be a fool as well

    1. He was wise but seemed foolish to us because of our pride.
    2.He seemed mad to us because we did not understand God’s ways.
    3.He was angry because God’s ways had been perverted by man in so many ways. In how the poor were treated, how and why worship was conducted and things too numerous to mention.
    4.He played the fool and put the wonders of God and His ways on display. But only the fools can see. The fools are the ones who know they are not wise and are willing to let God be God.
    5.He became helpless to show us how really helpless we are. His helplessness as a baby and in the days leading up to the cross show how God controls all things. It wasn’t Herod, the Romans or the Pharisees but God who was in control of all events but because they were wise in their own eyes, they could not see it.
    6.We have a hunger to say that we know but we must surrender this desire and just believe in Christ.
    7.We will be called foolish and mad. By the world’s standard we are.
    8.We will gain faith as we surrender and believe. Then we will feel the weight of His suffering (the weight of the beam). This part stands out to me most of all. I feel it.
    9.The power of paradox (a statement that seems contrary to common sense and yet is perhaps true). Faith is required. Faith seems foolish to the wise.

  12. 2. Meditate on verse 30. How do most animals who have never been ridden react when a rider mounts them?

    After reading the question, and people’s responses, I was thinking of that phrase, “stubborn as a mule!’, and remembered Psalm 32:

    “Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.” :9

    Interesting, how passive the little colt was. I want to be like that with the Lord, too. Willingly allowing him to control the direction I travel, the choices I make, without needing bit and bridle. Humble – vs – stubborn.

    So, Father, I pray that for myself and all the people associated with this blog, that we’ll be humble little colts in our spirits, willing to follow wherever you lead. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

    Gloris