Intro: If you think about it, given the fact that pretty much all of Israel went to Jerusalem for Passover, there were probably a lot of significant interactions with Jesus as He rode this donkey into Jerusalem.
If you think about it, it might seem as though maybe Luke has made a mistake. Maybe he’s missed an opportunity to reflect on the impact that Jesus has made through His ministry. To be fair, in verse 37 we are told that “the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen”. But rather than elaborating and reminding us of what Jesus has done, Luke focuses on this “donkey”
Rather, the Holy Spirit is using Luke to complete a narrative: a narrative by which the coming of Israel’s King has long been foretold...a narrative through which God declares,
“Your King has come!”
I. This narrative of the coming King is, in many ways, told in relationship to this donkey
A. We all know Zechariah 9:9 “Behold, your King is coming to you, righteous and having salvation is He, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey”
1. 740 years before Christ came, God told how He would come
2. He would come mounted, or “set” upon a donkey
B. But this donkey was described long before Zechariah
1. In Genesis, chapter 49, Jacob is about to die and before he dies, he gives a blessing to each of his sons.
a. When he gets to Judah, he says, “Judah is like a lion cub”
1. This is where we get one of the titles for Jesus
2. Jesus is called, “The Lion of Judah”
b. Then Jacob says, “his scepter will never depart from his hand nor the rulers staff from between his feet until...Shiloh comes and to Him shall the gathering of the people be”
c. Who is this “Shiloh” – to whom the “gather of the peoples shall be”?
d. A lot of English translations get rid of this word, “Shiloh”.
1. They say that “nobody knows what the word actually means”
2. They translate it as “tribute” or as “he to whom it belongs”.
e. We don’t see it until Israel occupies the promised land.
1. Then, Shiloh is established as the place for the tabernacle
2. Shiloh becomes the place where the sacrifices are made and where the High Priest over all Israel dwells
3. In Joshua 18:1, we are told that ‘the whole assembly gathered at Shiloh and set up the tent of meeting there. And we are told, “the country was brought under control”
4. We’re told that “God appeared at Shiloh” (where the people were gathered) and that this is where the land was divided into the twelve tribes and that all was brought under God’s “dominion”.
2. But Jacob, in his blessing of Judah says one more thing.
a. If you were to read Genesis 49 all by itself, this is one of those sections that “doesn’t make any sense”
b. Jacob says, ““Binding his foal to the vine and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he has washed his garments in wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes”.
c. Apart from Christ’s triumphal entry, this doesn’t make any sense
d. In light of Christ though, this makes a lot of sense!
1. Who called Himself “the vine” saying, “I am the true vine”?
2. Who is that “root of Jesse”?
i. What about this “washing his garments in wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes”?
ii. If you’re thinking, “I wonder if that has something to do with Christ’s “Passion” and the “cup of wrath” or even “I wonder if that’s got anything to do with the Lord’s Supper”? – You’d be exactly right!
THE HOLY SPIRIT THORUGH LUKE IS TYING THIS NARRATIVE OF THE DONKEY TO THE PROPHECY OF THE COMING KING. Through Luke, the Holy Spirit is saying, “THE KING HAS COME”. In fact, “Shiloh has come! The scepter shall not depart from His hand nor the ruling rod from beneath His feet and to Him shall the gathering of the peoples be”. – That’s why Luke’s narrative is centered around this donkey!
II. And Luke is telling us something else
A. After the people occupied Israel (Canaan), Israel went astray.
1. In its apostacy, God begins to speak through the prophets, likening Israel to a donkey.
2. In Hosea 8, God says, “Israel is swallowed up; already they are among the nations as a useless vessel. 9 For they have gone up to Assyria, a wild donkey wandering alone; Ephraim has hired lovers.”
a. Jeremiah uses this metaphor
b. Amos uses this metaphor
B. We often think of this donkey (or colt) as a yearling.
1. He’s never been sat upon – never been ridden
2. But think about that: Why is it that an animal doesn’t get ridden?
a. It’s because their will is unbroken - right?
b. It’s because that animal hasn’t learned to listen!
III. You need to understand this background if you want to understand what the Holy Spirit says
A. Jesus tells His disciples to go into the city and find a colt that has never been ridden.
1. This colt is to be “untied”
a. Why do you have to untie the colt?
i. Because it’s bound!
ii. Because it’s going to run away if you don’t!
2. They are to say to whoever asks, “The Lord has need of it”
a. In the Greek the disciples are confronted by this donkey’s many “lords”
b. They are to say, “It’s true Lord has need of it!”
B. Luke wants you to recognize this if you’re going to understand just why these people are gathered into this multitude as Jesus rides along
1. These people are Israel and these people were “bound”
a. There was the paralytic
b. There was the blind
c. There was the centurion’s daughter
d. There was the lame man by the pool
e. Not to mention the sick, the bleeding, the deaf and the mute
f. These were all “tied” or “bound” by many “lords”
2. Jesus sent His disciple into town to claim this donkey as His own
a. They come with a GOSPEL MESSAGE
b. They simply say, “It’s true Lord has need of it!”.
c. They lead this donkey back to Jesus
d. Jesus is then set upon Him.
e. Jesus has dominion over this donkey
f. Jesus rides this donkey (exercises His dominion over it) all the way to the Holy City
g. There Jesus dismounts the donkey and is set upon the cross that the donkey might go free
Conclusion: Today we have had these words read to us in our hearing that, with all of Israel, we might hear the Gospel Message that the King has come. Indeed, “Shiloh has come”. He has come that you might be unbound. He has come because the Lord has need of YOU! He has come that your sins might be atoned for. He has come that He might be set upon you through the waters of baptism and He has come that a new covenant with a new Israel might be established that you might be reconciled to Him through His blood, now given to you, through the blood of grapes.
The King of Kings and Lord of Lords has come that He might have dominion over you; That your inheritance might be provided; that you might also with all the gathering (the multitude) rejoice in the wonderful things that He has done. That with the blind, the lame, and even the son of Nain you might sing, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Amen.