Six Ways to Look at the Cross-Week 6 // Donkey Sunday // Pastor Kate Murphy

Scripture: Luke 19:28-42

Dear Church,

This Sunday is my favorite Sunday of the year.   (I know, I know, I say this a lot, but I always mean it.). It’s the first day of Holy Week.  Traditionally, churches will center their worship on the story of Jesus entering into Jerusalem for his final confrontation with the sacred, secular and spiritual powers & principalities of his day.   We call it Palm Sunday.

We shouldn’t.

The story of Jesus entering into Jerusalem is included in all four gospels, but only John mentions the palms.  And John is clear about who introduces them, ‘they took palm branches and went out to meet him.’  Jesus carefully orchestrated his entrance into the city.  But the palms weren’t his idea, they were the people’s choice.  We spend so much time focusing on the symbol that the crowd chose for Jesus, but we overlook the symbol that Jesus chose for himself: the donkey.  All four gospels carefully describe how Jesus sent his disciples to find a donkey and how he rode it into the city.  Jesus is showing us something about himself, but we keep looking away.

The palms represent our ideas of a savior, who we expect and desire Jesus to be.  The donkey is Jesus’ revelation to us of who he actually is–and who he is calling us to be.  If you don’t understand why Jesus rode a donkey, you don’t understand Jesus.  If the donkey isn’t one of the things you love about Jesus–then you may be loving and worshipping a Jesus-shaped idol.

You can’t get to the cross without the donkey.  I hope you’ll join us as we recommit ourselves to the astonishing, unexpected, life-giving way of our donkey-riding Savior.  

Pastor Kate

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