Sunday, April 1, 2012

Burden Bearer-Ask The Animals Sundays

Who could confront me and get by with it?
I'm in charge of all this—I run this universe!
-God Speaking to Job, Job 41:11 MSG

Today is Palm Sunday, and also Passion Sunday: today’s little parade is fanfare, prelude, signaling the arrival of the unholy circus we call Holy Week — whose climax is not three rings but three Roman crosses, stabbed in bloody relief against Jerusalem’s skyline, an eclipse of justice so cosmic as to be mirrored in the heavens on a festival Friday afternoon.

With populist fanfare Jesus descends from the Mount of Olives into the valley of the shadows of his death. And we too, following, make our own sharp descent into the maelstrom of the week’s intrigue.

It is hard work, the work before us this week. If Jesus’ first followers found themselves wishing to go back to the good days before the unpleasantness began or, like us, jumping ahead to the glory they might have imagined lay ahead, like them we have to remain here for a while. For this hour, to this place, this coming trouble — this is where Jesus journeys, and all his disciples, like it or not, must journey with him.

- Thomas R. Steagald

From pages 122-124 of Shadows, Darkness, and Dawn: A Lenten Journey with Jesus

In about the time it took to create the world Jesus would destroy "this" temple and rebuild it, death would be defeated, Heaven opened and mankind would be reconciled to God. Today begins the last leg of His journey that began with Mary's, "Be it done to me as you have said."

Jesus rides into Jerusalem on an unbroken donkey that has never yielded to the weight of a man. A donkey, who like the man riding it was found at the crossroad of two different ways. Like Jesus, the donkey yields and allows the weight to be laid upon its back. I often wondered if Jesus, the sin-bearer, grew heavier the closer He got to the city.

It was all "Hosanna" today but soon it would be treasonous betrayal, the cursing of a friend, the lash, the thorns and the nails. I think I just answered my own question. Much, much heavier. Didn't He even say as much later when sorrow overwhelmed Him? Still the little donkey keeps faith with Him just as the one did that carried Mary, great and swollen with child, so long ago.

As I was reading the Palm Sunday message in John 12:12-19 and the other gospels, I was struck by the thought that I do not lend such easy obedience to the plan of God. There are moments when that donkey shames my fickle profession. Times when God has needed to confront me with, "I run this universe!"

If I follow Christ to Jerusalem and ultimately to the Cross, if I allow myself to remember that the Creator of the Universe, the in-charge One, humbled Himself for us; if I consider His sacrifice and gift, His perfect obedience, then my shouted, "Save Now" means something. I desperately need it to.

So lead on little friend. Carry my Savior and carry my hopes. Carry us into Holy Week and a place of remembrance. Hosanna in the Highest. Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord.


Ask the animals what they think—let them teach you;
let the birds tell you what's going on.
Put your ear to the earth—learn the basics.
Listen—the fish in the ocean will tell you their stories.
Isn't it clear that they all know and agree
that God is sovereign? That He holds all things in His hand—
Every living soul, yes, every breathing creature.
Job 12:7-10

(Special thanks to Christian Jeter, age 7, for using her giftings for God-things. She has join me to produce Ask The Animals Sundays for Lent.)


  1. It's one thing to sit in Heaven and lay out a plan as outrageous and courageous as the one Father, Son and Holy Spirit laid out for our rescue - even before our creation. It's another thing to do it knowing what it will cost you to see it through. And yet another thing to see it through. Thank You, Jesus, from the very bottom of the bottom of my heart.

  2. So thankful for the sacrifice of Christ. I read the story to my children this morning. They wondered at the fear Jesus must have had, but even more so that he went to the Cross for us anyway. Hosanna, indeed.

    P.S. Beautiful donkey!

  3. It is indeed a blessed week. We just attended Maundy Thursday services and the foot washing ceremony.

    What humility Jesus gave us as an example.
    Happy Easter!

  4. Praise God - not somehow but triumphantly!!!