As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
Matthew 21: 1 – 3
Most of us, at some point in our lives, will have made a decision that we are going to create a confrontation, stir up a conflict or open an argument, in order to try to resolve an underlying conflict or even just because we’re angry and we want to. Or maybe that is just me? Mostly, for us, this is a sin – there are generally less unkind and less painful ways to resolve issues between us, but sometimes, our human nature demands a row. And, sometimes, a confrontation is the right thing.
Today is the first day of Lent, when some Christians start a period of fasting and prayer, building up to Easter. It is appropriate, therefore, that we should be starting to think about Jesus arrival to Jerusalem just now, because borrowing a donkey in Bethphage was the beginning of his approach to the end of his earthly life. Jesus and the apostles were all aware that the prophet Zechariah had said that the Messiah would come riding on a donkey, and in borrowing the donkey, Jesus was fulfilling this prophecy. Rather than avoiding confrontation, Jesus walked straight into it, in full knowledge of the likely outcome.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, give me the grace to know when to argue and when to persuade, when to make peace and when to confront. Help me to understand myself, and to know when I am honouring your example and when I’m following my own human will. Amen
Action: read forward through the next two or three chapters of Matthew, and look at the ways in which Jesus taught the crowds in Jerusalem, and how the scribes and Pharisees responded.