Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King
28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”
32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”
34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.”
35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.
37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
This story of Jesus 'fetching the donkey' is at the centre of the Gospel story. Jesus was about the enter Jerusalem triumphantly as king. This is one of the most glorious moments in Jesus' ministry (he would be betrayed and crucified soon). Yet this story is a bit odd in a few ways:
It involves an insignificant, weak animal as the main character
It seems to focus more on getting the donkey rather than looking at Jesus himself.
Did the owner of the donkey say yes? Is Jesus stealing an animal?
Why not just start the story with the triumphant entry?
You can probably continue this list of peculiarities...
1. The story surprisingly gives quite a lot of details about this animal. What do we know about it? Why do you think such information is included?
We know that it was tied (no freedom), no one has ridden on it (no experience), the master was surprised someone has interest in it (probably very young or with defects).
2. Take a look at all the verbs that describe Jesus' action in the account. What was Jesus' role in this story? In what ways was Jesus playing an active role in the story? In what ways was Jesus passive?
3. Take a look at all the verbs that describe the desciples' roles. What do you notice about the partnership between Jesus and the disciples?
4. What do you think is the significance of "The Lord needs it"? Did God really need that donkey?
5. Picture yourself in the following characters' shoes. What thoughts, questions and emotions are going through your mind during the event? Which one do you personally identify with most?
The two disciples who were sent
The donkey's owner
6. What lessons can each of these characters learn about their relationship with Jesus?