John tells us in chapter 12:1 that our Lord made His Royal entrance into Jerusalem “on the next day” after He had supper with His friends, Lazarus, Martha and Mary, which happened six days before the Passover feast. That being the case, His triumphal entrance to Jerusalem happened five days before His ultimately Passover. That was the time when He presented Himself as Israel’s King, shining the prophecy of Zechariah of many years past upon them. That was their time to rejoice, had they recognized Him – “Behold, your King comes to you…riding on a donkey, upon a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Israel was given one more chance to receive Him as their king and be free from the coming judgment upon them. But no, that did not happen and five days later they handled Him to the Romans demanding Him to be killed like a criminal, the Gentile way- crucifixion.
In that last week of His life on earth, a young donkey which had never been ridden before took his position of a servant to His Lord. That was one special and one perfect donkey. A prophecy was uttered by Jacob before his death concerning the tribe of Judah: “Tying His foal to the vine and His donkey’s colt to the choice vine,” that was the time for that colt to be untied to serve the Lord. He served Him as a vehicle to present Himself as King. That little young donkey had no idea of the tremendous task he was assigned to. But I know that he knew exactly Who that was ridding him. It was just normal for him to know, as the donkey which Balaam was ridding. If that donkey could speak, or given the opportunity to do so, he would have said, “This is your King, O Israel. Worship and adore Him!” That lowly beast of burden would have stood for His Lord and had hushed the mouths of those who were coming against the Lord, as did Balaam’s donkey when he forced her to go against the angel. Balaam’s aim was to curse the nation of Israel, but the Lord intervened by sending an angel, who became an adversary against him. Balaam’s donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way and his sword drawn in His hand, and the donkey turned aside out of the way and went into the field. And Balaam struck the donkey to turn her into the way, but the angel of the Lord stood in a path of the vine yards, a wall on this side and a wall on that side. And when the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she thrust herself against the wall and crushed Balaam’s foot against it, and he struck her again. And the angel of the Lord went further and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right hand or to the left. And when the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she fell down under Balaam, and Balaam’s anger was kindled and he struck the donkey with his staff. And the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, What have I done to you that you should strike me these three times? And Balaam said to the donkey, Because you have ridiculed and provoked me! I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill you! And the donkey said to Balaam, Am not I your donkey, upon which you have ridden all your life long until this day? Was I ever accustomed to do so to you? And he said, No. Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way with His sword drawn in his hand; and he bowed his head and fell on his face. And the angel of the Lord said to him, why have you struck your donkey these three times? See, I came out to stand against and resist you, for your behavior is willfully obstinate and contrary before Me. And the ass saw Me and turned from me these three times. If she had not turned from Me, surely I would have slain you and saved her alive (Numbers 22: 21-33).
We consider donkeys to be stubborn. Their nature is such that they tend not to give in to orders until being hit. We call them “stubborn mules.” We can go beyond reason to abuse them by hitting them as a result. But it is proper to think that it was a donkey that God used to present His son as King to the nation of Israel. It was not a horse with its pump and elegance and beauty. But it was a lowly beast of burden that He used for that purpose; a servant, one might say. The Prophet Zechariah prophesied Israel’s King to come to her righteous and victorious. Yes, and He did. He did not come ridding on a horse a symbol of power and war, no, He rode a donkey symbolizing peace- Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord! They shouted. Hosanna in the highest! When He entered Jerusalem, all the city became agitated and said, who is This? And the crowds replied, This is the prophet YAHSHUA from Nazareth of Galilee (Matt. 21:9-11). What was so significant in this phrase? Moses prophesized about this Prophet when Israel was in route to the Promised land, saying, The Lord you God will raise up for you a prophet from the midst of your brethren like me; to him you shall listen. I will raise up for them a prophet from among their brethren like you, and will put My words in his mouth and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not hearken to My words which he shall speak in My name, I myself will require it of him (Deut. 18:15,18). Although the information was correct, it was incomplete. YAHSHUA was not only the Prophet, but their King. The donkey served Him well to present Him as King to the nation before they would betray and handle Him to the Romans. But the nation did not recognized Him as their King and even some of those who shouted “Hosanna in the highest, blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord,” later in the week shouted, Crucify Him, crucify Him! Why? Because they did not receive Him for Whom He was- the King of Israel.
YAHSHUA rode on a donkey to symbolize peace; to connect with the common, and poor people, as we see in Isaiah 61:1: The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes of those who are bound (Isaiah 61:1-11). He rode on a donkey to fulfill Zechariah 9:9 prophecy when he presented Israel’s King riding on a donkey. But the next time YAHSHUA comes to earth, He will come ridding on a white horse. He will pass judgment and will wage war in righteousness (Rev. 19:11). No longer is He coming as Israel’s Messiah only. He will come to all nations ready to judge and to take His position of King of kings, Lord of lords, when all knees will bow down to Him and every tongue will confess His lordship. My friend, follow the example of that donkey. Be a faithful servant of Christ.