Carrying Jesus – Lent 6
At the centre of the events that have become known as the ‘Triumphal Entry’ is a Donkey – to be precise, the foal of a Donkey, a Colt.
I have to be honest at the outset .. I’ve never been a great fan of Donkeys – as a child, I was never bothered about having a ride on one on the beach at Bridlington. I’ve never seen the charm in them and I’ve never understood why folks just find them so adorable. Maybe, I’ve just been introduced to the wrong kind of Donkeys – But as I’ve been considering the animals this week and reflecting upon the one in the Gospel account, I’ve started to have a change of heart … I’ve started to see them in a new light and with slightly better understanding …. but I’m still not bothered about having a ride on one on the beach!
I’ve discovered through some reading that Donkeys are sociable animals – they like being with other Donkeys. They are good listeners having good hearing on account of their larger than usual ears. They have exceptionally good memories – according to research, Donkeys can remember faces, situations and other Donkeys from up to 25 years ago. But the biggest revelation came when considering the idea that Donkeys are stubborn.
Unlike a Horse, which can seem ‘flighty’ in comparison, a Donkey cannot run away from things that seem dangerous or unwelcome … so instead, they stay still and consider their situation carefully. Apparently, they are not being stubborn … they are thinking and working out what they should do next!
They are strong for their size and consequently have been used as beasts of burden for millennia.
We are told that Jesus sat upon them and was in this way carried into the city of Jerusalem. The Donkey ‘carried’ Jesus so that people could see him, so that he could enter into people’s lives, so that he could make a difference.
How might we ‘carry’ Jesus to do the same?
The Donkey was steadfast and Resolute – determined despite challenges along the path. Do we blow hot and cold for Jesus? Are we easily distracted from what we should be doing or saying? Are we too easily persuaded to remain silent when we should be speaking out over an issue? Do we only carry Jesus for 90 mins on a Sunday and then forget about him for the next 7 days?
The Donkey delivered Jesus in a steady manner – Donkey’s don’t rush they plod – they progress steadily – they get there and they get there safely. We often focus on speed – speed must be good – smarter. But responding steadily gets you there. One step at a time. There was no opportunity to hide on a Donkey – no sudden bolting for cover – Jesus knew the danger and chose to allow the Donkey to carry Him steadily into all that He had to face.
The Donkey carried Jesus to where he needed to be. He did what was asked of him. Do we carry Jesus securely?
We might be ‘secure’ with Jesus but is Jesus secure with us? When we accept the truth of who He is and ask Him into our lives we are rescued – our relationship with God is now secure – We can rely on His word and on His sacrifice – our sins are forgiven and our eternal destiny sealed.
Can Jesus rely on us? Do we carry Him everywhere and all the time? Do we only carry Him on a Sunday? Do we carry Him securely into all parts of our lives? Do we only carry Him on good paths when things are easy? Do we forget about Him when challenged about our belief and faith? Are there parts of our lives that we don’t want Him to see? We would prefer it if He ‘got off’
Equally, are there parts of His life that we don’t want to see? Are we hiding from the reality of the brutality of His passion on the Cross? As we ‘carry’ Jesus are we carrying everything of Him or just the bits we are happy with? If we ‘airbrush’ the reality of the events of Holy Week out of our experience and encounter with Jesus then we diminish all that He went through.
Without the Cross we have no salvation. It was not an easy thing that Jesus did. The Gospel accounts spare the detail of the process because everyone knew what happened. It was brutal, barbaric and it was bloody and in Jesus’ case by all accounts, exceptionally so.
Walk with Jesus this Holy Week – steadfastly, steadily and securely. Read and reflect upon what the Cross is all about, why it was necessary and the depths of love that took Jesus there on our behalf.
These next 7 days changed the history of the world. It’s easy to reduce their importance or even forget about them completely and leap from the celebration of Palm Sunday to the celebration of Easter without considering the pain and the sacrifice that got us there. If we do so, we diminish what Jesus went through and accomplished on our behalf and we reduce the joy and the victory of all that was achieved.