Riding on a Donkey – what for?

And Jesus saw a young ass and took his seat on it; as the Writings say, Have no fear, daughter of Zion: see your King is coming, seated on a young ass. (These things were not clear to his disciples at first: but when Jesus had been lifted up into his glory, then it came to their minds that these things in the Writings were about him and that they had been done to him.)

Joh 12:14-16

Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. He fulfilled prophecy by doing so. We can stop right there and make another tick in our list of Old Testament prophecies fulfilled by Jesus. One more death nail for those who deny Jesus as Messiah.

Yet there again is so much more in this. Riding a donkey on its own seems so pointless, so let’s see what it was connected to in the passage this was prophesied.

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy king cometh unto thee; he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, even upon a colt the foal of an ass. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off; and he shall speak peace unto the nations: and his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. As for thee also, because of the blood of thy covenant I have set free thy prisoners from the pit wherein is no water. Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope: even to- day do I declare that I will render double unto thee.

Zch 9:9-12

So the king would come riding on an ass, and a young ass as a picture of modesty, lowliness. Then will God cut of the vehicles and means of war. It will not be by might or by power, but by my Spirit, speaks the Lord.

Jesus, the king, will speak words of freedom and peace, even to the nations. From that moment on, the words of peace were out. The chance for personal peace as well as peace of the nations was given. All the weapons were cut off. Neither can the enemy harm us – his weapons were cut off and he himself put under our feet – nor can we progress using war horses, arrows, revolvers, tanks. Our weapons are not carnal. Yet they are mighty through God in the pulling down of strongholds. But what are they? They cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. OK, but what are they? They are words of peace. Words of rest. Words of loving truth. For words (logos) are the building blocks (legos) of our faith and future.

The kings dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the world. It shall encompass everything geographically. And time wise. It shall last from the river flowing out of Eden into the garden, from the river of blood and water on the cross to the ends of the world.

And every prisoner is to be set free from the waterless pit by the blood of the covenant. This covenant was cut at the cross. The prisoners were set free at the cross.

By the blood of Jesus, the prisoners of the law were set free. Why prisoners of the law? The law was given so sin could abound. What does that mean? Only when you know that something is wrong, it is sin. The law made sin obvious, even possible. So people that knew the law were prisoners of sin. The law was never given to prevent us from sinning. It was given to show us that not one can keep it. We all fall short.

The pit is a picture for this. We sat in a pit with walls to steep, to high to climb. No way out in our own strength. Jesus made this even more clear in the beatitudes. Upping the notch of every single commandment, making clear the real intended meaning. Not only doing against the law, but even thinking about doing it breaks it. We can’t do it on our own. No way. Not even with help. And more over, the pit lacked water.

Water as the picture of the Holy Spirit. The law, the letter is dead and brings death, but the Spirit brings live. On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit fell, as a direct consequence of Passah. Jesus in his life fulfilled the law, even for us. In his death he reconciled us to the Father. He brought us words of peace, so we could forgive ourselves and forgive the Father. The Father needs no reconciliation, he is love. We need it. We hide from him just like Adam and Eve. And in his resurrection Jesus took his place as king at the right hand of the Father and sent us the Spirit.

Since then we do not have to live without water. The Spirit is freely available. For everybody. We just have to believe it. So if we are in a waterless pit, we are so because we want to. Do not blame God for it. He freed us from the waterless pit. But you are free to climb back down.

But if you turn to the stronghold, if you turn to Jesus, he promises to bless you with a double portion. Free from the pit, and full water supply.

Wanna join me there? Send me a comment.

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Accompanyist | Pastor in Exile | Iconoclast — I am a Gallup certified CliftonStrengths coach and a Spiral Dynamics practitioner.