This week I’ll be writing a blog on each day of Holy Week, a “sermonette” I can’t preach from the pulpit but one that I can to you crazy people! And by “can’t” I simply mean I won’t but I do think the majority of the congregation I serve would find it hilarious if I did.
I want to talk a little about this donkey Jesus requests here for a moment.
When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it.’”
So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They said, “The Lord needs it.” Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it.- Luke 19:29-35
Okay, imagine this… you’re hanging with your homies at your house and you say to two friends, “run across the street and take my neighbor’s car.”
“WHAT?!? NO!”, your homie exclaims.
“No it’s fine, if they ask you why, tell them it’s for Jesus.”
“OH, OKAY…” homies say complete with eye roll, “you crazy!”
I mean seriously. I am down with the miracles, I mean Jesus does some crazy stuff in the gospels. On Sunday I’ll exclaim belief in a bodily resurrection, but you are hard pressed to convince me that anyone, anywhere would allow you to take their property because “Jesus needs it.”
And yet… There’re these people…
I mean, if someone’s driving away with my brand new donkey that’s never been ridden and I say, ummmm…. exsqueeze me, whatya doing? I want my donkey back!
“no, no, Jesus needs it.”
I’m calling the police!
I’m not sure what processes Jesus to ask for such a thing. Really, I mean is this a frat house prank, a gang initiation. Or does he know he’s about to die and just not care. Is the next town over Mary and Martha? And if it is, why didn’t he just say, “go hit up Lazarus for a donkey, he owes me one after that raising from the dead thing.”
Sometimes scripture is just weird. The whole thing is weird. Palm Sunday was a political protest. Jesus is mocking politics of Jerusalem, which actually is the least weird thing about this story.
But seriously Jesus, what does it say that we have such specific details about where this donkey came from? Is stealing the donkey all part of the mockery? Did you steal it from a rich person? Did they have to do it over cover of darkness? But the owner stopped them? I mean, WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT THIS DONKEY?
I will never know the answer to these questions, nor do I really want to. Some parts of scripture I like to remain a mystery. But I will say this, don’t try this at home…