As we prepare for Palm Sunday, an often-overlooked component of the triumphant entry story is the message of the two disciples Jesus sends to get the donkey he rides into Jerusalem. Within this story is a piece of the Christian puzzle missing from many of our lives.
I get it; who cares about the two disciples Jesus sent to get the donkey? Compared to Him riding the donkey, people shouting Hosanna, and the religious people plotting to kill him, the story seems to lack significance. And honestly, I bet that is what the two disciples also thought.
Imagine their perspective; they had spent three years watching Jesus perform miracles, show signs of who He was, and oppose the toxic religion practiced by the Jewish leaders. Pair that with their anticipation that Jesus would enter Jerusalem and overthrow the Roman government, beginning His reign as King of the world. I bet the disciples were scratching their heads as to why Jesus wanted the donkey and, even more, why they had to be the ones to get it.
This would be like being at the big game when the lights go out, the sparks start flying, the team is coming down the tunnel, and your spouse tells you they need a drink from the concession stand. I picture my response being, “You know what, honey, you’ve made it this long without a drink. I think you can wait ten more minutes.” However, what the disciples failed to realize, and we often miss out on, is the significance of donkey duty.
Sometime after Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension to heaven, Matthew realized that the event was prophesied in the Old Testament as a sign of the Messiah. These two disciples weren’t meaninglessly going to pick up a donkey because Jesus’ feet hurt. They were the instruments Jesus used to fulfill the plan God had promised for His life.
Everyone wants to be a part of the triumphant moments in the church. We love when it is evident that the work we are doing is for the good of the Kingdom. We love seeing people come to know Christ. We love taking part in baptisms. We love boasting about all the blessings we have. But do we love donkey duty?
How do we react when called to do things that don’t excite us? Do we enjoy the work we do that goes unnoticed? Do we appreciate the work that leaves us wondering why or if it is worth it?
There are plenty of people merely celebrating Jesus. What the world desperately needs are people who are ready to go on donkey duty. People who put their heads down and do what they are called to do, even if it is not exciting to them. There may be no glamour in this work, but through our obedience, God uses these situations to show the world the glory of who He is.