In Matthew 21, we find that Jesus simultaneously displayed both humility and authority. He told his disciples to go get a donkey with her colt. Jesus said, “If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away” (Matt. 21:3).
Why did Jesus choose to ride on a donkey as opposed to a horse? A horse would be much more impressive. Jesus came not as a conquering king on a horse with chariots of war. The greatest leader of all time knew the importance of symbolism. The donkey was a symbol of humility and peace.
His Ways Are Better
We are called to be different from the citizens of this world. Instead of bullying, to stand up for the weak. Instead of lying, to speak the truth. Instead of complaining, to have gratitude. Instead of laziness, to work wholeheartedly. Instead of quitting, to persevere! King Jesus calls us to behave differently!
When Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey, it was the fulfillment of a prophecy hundreds of years earlier:
Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. (Zech. 9:9-10)
What a beautiful example of a “servant-leader”! He is a king who inspires his people through self-sacrificing love!
Be Humble and Know Your Authority
Later Jesus used his authority to drive out those who were using the Temple courts for greed and dishonest activity. Make no mistake: humility is not weakness. Meekness is strength under control. Knowing his authority, Jesus exercised strength under control. He was not indecisive. He took righteous action.
Jesus was rightfully angry; he wanted to restore the Temple as a place of worship. Quoting from Isaiah 56:7, Jesus said in Mark 11:17, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”
Jesus took decisive action to restore the Temple to what it should be. He was a man of both humility and authority. We are called to follow in his footsteps.