"They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them." - Matthew 21:7
Today we mark the triumphal entry of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem . . . riding on a donkey. He comes not as a military conqueror riding on a stallion, but as a humble servant riding on a donkey.
But Jesus didn't just ride on a donkey; Jesus rode on a donkey and a colt. He rode not just on a beast of service, but also on its young, weak, vulnerable offspring.
The Gospel emphasizes that Jesus rode the donkey and its colt into Jerusalem. He was not only making a statement about his humility, he was also making a statement about his vulnerability.
Can there be any true humility without a true realization of weakness? Is it possible to really be humble and at the same time be shielded from hurt . . . pain . . . rejection?
Jesus enters the world through the vulnerability of a baby . . . and Jesus prepares to end his earthly sojourn by riding into Jerusalem on a donkey and on a young, tender colt.
In counseling, people seek someone who sees and understands the visceral pain of their perplexities and dilemmas. In relationships, intimacy can only be reached through a common let down of defenses and a common openness of transparency. In politics, we are always searching for the candidate who is straightforward enough to identify with our deep-seated struggles and anxieties.
The humility of Jesus is not a lofty, singular virtue. It connects all of us who labor with the stresses and strains of everyday life. And it tells us that our power is not in camouflaging our weaknesses, but in recognizing our weaknesses, and acknowledging the common places where we hurt together.
There is only one who can heal. It is the one who has been wounded.
God, as we try to humble ourselves in hostile situations, show us how your strength is made perfect in our weakness. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.