Jesus and his followers were coming closer to Jerusalem. They came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives. There Jesus sent two of his followers to do something. Jesus said to the followers, "Go to the town you can see there. When you enter it, you will find a young donkey tied there. No person has ever ridden this donkey. Untie the donkey and bring it here to me. If any person asks you why you are taking the donkey, tell that person, 'The Master needs this donkey. He will send it back soon.'"
— Mark 11:1-3
Jesus knows the flow of events that will follow. He knows what awaits him in Jerusalem: reception, rejection, and resurrection. He goes to face this future trusting that his father is in control. He has warned his followers at least three specific times that he will go to Jerusalem and be rejected and crucified. Now, he sets the plan in motion. He sends his followers to get the colt that begins his journey of sacrifice and salvation. He embraces that future knowing the cost. Along the way, he will have opportunities to turn away from that future—he can not ride into Jerusalem on the donkey's colt, he can avoid confrontations with the powers that be in Jerusalem, he can opt out of the sacrifice in the Garden of Gethsemane, he can call down angels to save him, he can refuse to go to the Cross, and he can come down from the Cross to prove his identity. Yet in each case and at every crossroad of decision, Jesus embraces the will of God, accepts his role as sacrificial Son, and fulfills the prophets' words. The Cross will be no accident. His sacrifice will not be something forced upon him. His rejection and humiliation will not be some awful surprise over which he has no control. Jesus has come to "serve and give his life as a ransom" for sinners ... even the very sinners who will mock, abuse, and murder him. This is the future Jesus embraces as he sends his followers for the colt. He has need of this colt to begin this final part of the journey that will ultimately take him to the Cross and bring his grace to us.
O Father, I am overwhelmed with the love that Jesus has for me. I know that as he sends for the donkey's colt, he knows the journey to the Cross has begun in earnest. He knows he will pay for my sins with his life, his dignity, his agony, and his blood. All I can do is bow in humble appreciation, adoration, and awe. As the old hymn reminds me, "Love so amazing, so divine, demands my life, my soul, my all." These I offer to you with all my heart. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Today's Verses in Context
Jesus and his followers were coming closer to Jerusalem. They came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives. There Jesus sent two of his followers to do something. Jesus said to the followers, "Go to the town you can see there. When you enter it, you will find a young donkey tied there. No person has ever ridden this donkey. Untie the donkey and bring it here to me. If any person asks you why you are taking the donkey, tell that person, 'The Master needs this donkey. He will send it back soon.'" The followers went into the town. They found a young donkey tied in the street near the door of a house. The followers untied the donkey. Some people were standing there and saw this. The people asked, "What are you doing? Why are you untying that donkey?" The followers answered the way Jesus told them to answer. The people let the followers take the donkey. The followers brought the donkey to Jesus. The followers put their coats on the donkey, and Jesus sat on it. Many people spread their coats on the road for Jesus. Other people cut branches in the fields and spread the branches on the road. Some of the people were walking ahead of Jesus. Other people were walking behind him. All the people shouted, "'Praise Him!' 'Welcome! God bless the One that comes in the name of the Lord!' God bless the kingdom of our father David. That kingdom is coming! Praise to God in heaven!" Jesus went into Jerusalem and went to the temple. Jesus looked at everything in the temple area. But it was already late. So Jesus went to Bethany with the twelve apostles.