This Sunday is traditionally known as Palm Sunday, the day when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to the praise of the Passover crowd. Much is made of the palm branches, the shouts of Hosanna, the objection of the Pharisees, but overlooked in the story is owner of the donkey.
As Jesus was approaching Jerusalem he instructed his disciples to go into a village where they will find a donkey. When they find the animal they are told to just untie it and bring it him. Sounds like a first century version of grand theft larceny. Who in the world is going to let perfect strangers just walk up to their donkey and take it with no explanation?
Anticipating that someone may have issue with this apparent thievery, he further instructed the disciples that if anyone asks why they are untying this donkey just tell them, “The Lord needs it.” I guess the disciples are satisfied with the plan and proceed – an act of faith in and of itself.
They followed the instructions and as they are untying the donkey naturally someone, likely the owner, does ask them what they are doing. They replied as Jesus told them with, “The Lord needs it.” Did they hold their breathe wondering what would happen? Were the other disciples placing bets on whether or not they would really be able to pull this off? Whatever they were thinking or feeling, the strange thing is that it works! Those simple words appease the owner. He hands over the donkey and then Palm Sunday happens.
I suppose this could have been prearranged by Jesus, but there is no indication in the Gospels that this is the case. It may have been just those simple words - “The Lord needs it” - that was enough for the donkey owner to hand over what was no doubt a prized and valuable possession. Perhaps he even felt a sense of pride in being able to play a part, albeit a small part, in this grand celebration that ensued. “The Lord needs it” was enough for him.
I would like to think that all of us have something the Lord needs. In fact, I believe that each of us have a donkey of sorts that they Lord could use. Some ability we have been gifted with. Some words that could offer healing. Some opportunity to bring peace. Some way that we can join in with Jesus in bringing his reign into the lives of people. But we must be willing to untie it.
What do you have that the Lord needs? What possession, gift, or ability do you feel the Lord untying from your life? Are you willing to let it go?
I wonder if the donkey owner was in the crowd when Jesus entered Jerusalem on that Palm Sunday. If he was, I imagine he felt a sense of joy knowing that he played this small role. Any sacrifice that he may have made was well worth the satisfaction that something he owned could be used by the Lord. And I can’t help but think that we will feel the same.
Today hear those simple words, “They Lord needs it,” and let that be enough.
This blog was inspired by the Eyewitness Bible Series video "The Need". You can access that video and more by clicking here.