Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Forgotten Discipline of Donkey-Borrowing

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me." (Matt. 21:1-2)

Most Christians don't even know about it. But can we say we love Christ if we don't do what he has commanded us to do? The above text makes it very clear that Jesus commanded us to borrow donkeys. It was not a suggestion. It was an imperative: "Go," Jesus said, and we ought to emulate the promptness with which the two disciples obeyed: They "went and did as Jesus had directed them" (v.6).

Notice the outcome of the disciples' obedience. The crowds followed Jesus shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" (v.9) Matthew wants his readers to understand that Jesus is honored and exalted when we obey his command to borrow donkeys.

Many in the Christian world would seek to justify their tragic neglect of this express command of Christ by postulating that it was a command only meant for the original disciples to obey. These interpreters forget that Jesus himself, just seven chapters later, instructs the disciples to teach new believers to observe all that he has commanded them (28:20). Consider a simple syllogism:

1. Jesus commanded the disciples to borrow a donkey.
2. Jesus instructed the disciples to teach Christians to observe all that he commanded them.
3. Ergo, Christians should observe Jesus's command to borrow a donkey.

It really couldn't be clearer. Pray about it.