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A Donkey’s Tale: The Gospel of Palm Sunday - The Crosswalk Devotional - April 2

The Crosswalk Devotional

A Donkey’s Tale: The Gospel of Palm Sunday
By Dr. Michael A. Milton

As we reflect on Palm Sunday, we are reminded of the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The Scripture that refers to the Lord telling His disciples to get the donkey is found in Matthew 21:1-3:

"As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, 'Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.'" 

Let’s hear about Palm Sunday from one who was there.
All the children waved palms and sang Hosanna. I could never forget! It was the high mark of my life. I know: I have heard the jokes that you've made. It is interesting that you never use the King James version except when you're talking about Baalom’s donkey (Numbers 22:28). Our kind knows all about the jokes. But it was no joke on that Sunday. Now, I can't talk like Balaam’s creature, but I have something more. I have a donkey's tale.

There are several things about that day that stand out to me. Every so often, I feel like I just want to rear back on my hind legs and bray at the beauty of those moments with the One called Immanuel. What do I remember? Well, they were at least three special moments that come to mind, and these memories may have something to say to you.

Firstly, Jesus chose me. I remember that the Galilean chose me to fulfill Scripture. I did not belong to the Galilean, but I belonged to a man from Jerusalem. But on that day the Galilean sent his disciples and told my master that “the Lord hath need” of me. Do you know what that means? Do you know how it feels to be the bad end of a joke all the time? I don't have to do anything and yet people immediately see me as stubborn and mean. Not Jesus. He did not choose me out of pity. He did not select me to be his supporter because of any other reason than this: in the secret councils of Almighty God, he set his love on me. If only I could have talked! Do you know how it feels when God chooses you despite your reputation? Yet, Jesus chose me.

Jesus used me. By saying that Jesus "used me," I don't mean that he took advantage of me. To the contrary! He gave me a part in the greatest story ever told. What do you think about that? Do you still want to call me stupid and mean and stubborn? I may be all of those things, but for one brief shining moment, I carried the King of Kings and Lord of lords on my back. And I can never get over how God uses a simple little creature like me to bring about so great a salvation.

Others overlooked me. In the midst of all the hosannas and all the waving palms and palm branches thrown at my feet, I knew the cheering was not for me. I knew the palm branches did not form a veritable "red carpet" for the Prince of donkeys. No. I knew they were welcoming Jesus as the promised Messiah. But just as they overlooked me and my important part — the role that changed our species — in that great Palm Sunday story, many overlooked the Scriptures. For that glorious King who wrote on my back was not a political figure. He was not riding into Jerusalem to overthrow Rome. He was riding into Jerusalem to go to the cross. And I can never forget that. The Scriptures declare that we creatures know more about God than some of you. Job 12:7-10.says:

"But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you, or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?"

So many misunderstood. But I knew why he chose me. I knew why he used me on that glorious day. And I could see what many overlooked. The King of Kings and the Lord of lords came into Jerusalem as the Prince of peace. He was on his way to die for the sins of the world, to give his life as a substitutionary atonement for sin. He lived the perfect life so that whoever believes in him is covered in the righteousness of Jesus. And what did he get? He got our sins. He took our pain. But he gave us his life.

I'm just one of God's creatures. But on that special day, that poem Sunday, my life and, indeed, my kind were changed forever.

Intersecting Faith and Life:
Though I have made a donkey of myself numerous times in my life, I am now stepping away from the voice of that little creature on Palm Sunday. I want to say to you clearly: this little parable based on true events is told to you that you may know God has placed his love on you despite your sin, your past, or even what other people might think of you. Secondly, like the little donkey, God has use for you. God calls us to use us for his kingdom's work. And finally, I want you to see that Palm Sunday is not only the beginning of the Holy Week, but if you repent and trust in Jesus Christ as the resurrected Lord of lords and King of Kings in your life, it will be Easter morning forevermore.

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

So, I encourage you, my human friends, to consider how God may be calling you and using you for his kingdom's work. Despite your past, your sin, or what others may think of you, God has placed his love on you and has a purpose for your life. And as we approach Holy Week, remember that Palm Sunday was just the beginning of the greatest story ever told.

Further Reading:

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Boonyachoat

Dr. Michael A. MiltonMichael A. Milton (PhD, Wales) is a long-time Presbyterian minister (PCA) and a regular contributor to Salem Web Network. In addition to founding three churches, and the call as Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Chattanooga, Dr. Milton is a retired Army Chaplain (Colonel). He is the recipient of the Legion of Merit. Milton has also served as chancellor and president of seminaries and is the author of more than thirty books. He has composed and performed original music for five albums. He and his wife, Mae, reside in Western North Carolina. His most recent book is a second edition release: Hit by Friendly Fire: What to do when Another Believer Hurts You (Resource Publications, 2022). To learn more visit and subscribe: https://michaelmilton.org/about/.

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