According to John Phillips, a donkey is mentioned more than 140 times in Scripture. However, the donkey which heads the list is the one who gave Jesus a ride into town, better known as the Triumphal Entry.
There are some things about this donkey that intrigue me. For one thing, the donkey had to be REDEEMED. According to the Law of Moses, the donkey was pronounced an unclean animal. It did not chew the cud, and it did not have a cloven hoof; thus, it was doubly cursed. Inside and out, it was completely unclean. However, the law also made provision for the condemned beast: it could be redeemed. A lamb could die in the stead of the donkey.
It should because we are born unclean, condemned by God's law and sentenced to death. We are doubly cursed. But, the "Lamb of God," the Lord Jesus, has died in our place. Like that donkey, there was nothing we could do to change our condition. But, the lamb died to redeem us.
Not only did the donkey have to be redeemed, but it had to be RELEASED. Jesus told his disciples, "ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither." (Luke 19: 30) The donkey had life, only because of the Lamb; but although it had life, it had no liberty.
I don't know much about the mental functions of a donkey, but can't we possibly imagine how that young donkey may have stood alongside the post, to which it was tied, and dreamed about the day it would be set free. The grass on the yonder hills looked so green. The brook down the hill looked so refreshing. The other animals seemed to be enjoyed the freedom of roaming the hillside. But, it was tied to a post, and the closest it could ever get to freedom was to only imagine it.
How many Christians have been given a new life in Christ, and have been redeemed; yet, they are still in bondage to old hurts, habits, handicaps, and hang-ups. They need to receive the "engrafted" Word of Jesus, "Loose him, and bring him thither." Jesus died to not only redeem us, but to release us. He redeemed us from the penalty of sin's curse; but, He also released us from the power of sin's cruelty.
Finally, once the donkey had been redeemed and released, he had to be RULED. Jesus said that this was a donkey "whereon yet never man sat." In other words, this was an unbroken donkey. It was still full of pride and self-will. It was still full of it's own nature. Again, to delve into the mind of the donkey, I'm sure that he thought, "If I can ever get free, I'm going to run, play, eat to my hearts content." But, I'm sure that he never thought, if I get free, I'm going to let a man control me.
But, Jesus had other plans. He told his disciples to tell the owners of the colt, that the "Lord hath need of him." Thus, as soon as Jesus mounted the back of this donkey, the Master enthroned Himself as the Rightful Owner. All rebellion fled. All fear vanished. We don't read where the young colt bucked, snorted, and kicked while carrying Jesus.
Why? Because it has been transformed from a wild, untamed, cantankerous creature, to an obedient, submissive instrument to fulfill the prophetic word of Zechariah, "Behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass." (Zech. 9: 9)
It had been redeemed to be released; and, it had been released to be ruled. Its one duty was now to lift up the Lord Jesus Christ.
Does that not sound like what God desires for each of us? He came to redeem us that He might release us so that He might rule us. As soon as He mounts the saddle of our life, all of our pride, self-will, and cantankerous flesh can be broken so that our sole duty is to lift up Jesus, and carry Him into a lost and dying world.
One final thought.....When He carried Jesus on that triumphal march, and the people lined the streets waving palm branches, singing and rejoicing; do you think the donkey thought all of that pomp and circumstance was for him?
I think it's safe to say that all eyes were on Jesus, not the donkey; but, yet, Jesus used the donkey to lift Him up. If He can do that with a donkey, how much more could He do and would He do with you and me?
I'm Still Amazed,