Palm Sunday
April 8, 2001
Matthew
21:1-11
"The Beast of Burden Speaks"

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Introduction: Holy Week 2001 begins today with the celebration of Psalm Sunday. This week we walk with the Savior through the streets of Jerusalem to the upper room, through His arrest, trial, conviction and death. Then, one week from today we will stand at an open tomb and proclaim "Christ is arisen, He is risen indeed, hallelujah!"

But let us begin today with Psalm Sunday.  We know the story well, but today let us not overlook one of the small details of that day, the animal involved, the small colt upon which Jesus rode in triumph. This animal, a beat of burden, is not at all incidental to the story.

I.     The colt is a representation of Jesus' earthly ministry.

A.   Kings, great men, and warriors normally rode horses.

B.    A donkey, on the other hand, is humble, meek, unassuming and simple.

C.   The colt is a perfect likeness for Christ and His mission.

1.   When standing trial before Pilate Jesus would simply say: "My kingdom is not of this world"

2.   In describing Himself Jesus says in Matthew 11 "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light" {vv.28-30}

II. The colt had never been ridden before.

A.     Matthew explains certain things for us.

1.   This probably explains why Matthew speaks of the donkey as well as the colt. This is a rather young animal, too young even to have had been ridden. It was still haltered to its mother.

2.   The Old Testament sacred services reserved for animals that had not been under the yoke. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament Scriptures.

3.   This also proves the point that Christ rules over the natural world. All things are brought under the subjection of His command.

B.     To use a colt, who had never been ridden is only fitting as Jesus brings to us something completely new.

1.   Before, men had died for the gods. Never had God died for men. This is the new thing, which Jesus brought. He came into this world to suffer and die for you and for me and for all people that have ever inhabited the world.

2.   By suffering and dying on the cross Jesus completely fulfilled the Old Testament system to bring about a new covenant; a new covenant of His body and blood.

III. The colt was a beast of burden.

A.   Consider the donkey.

1.   The donkey was not a symbol of status but was used for service.

2.   The donkey was used not for battle but for burdens

B.    But the colt is a perfect reflection of Jesus' ministry

1.   Jesus came to bear the burden of people warn down from sin and strife.

2.   He came to bear the ultimate burden - the burden of sin.

IV. The colt was borrowed from its master.

A.   Everything He had on this earth was borrowed. {stable, boat, quarters, even His tomb}

1.   He owned all things but on earth possessed nothing

2.   You and I possess all things but own nothing

B.    Learn the lessons from that first Palm Sunday

1.   There are always those who are willing to help the work of the Savior.

2.   Even those most humble can serve the Savior.

3.   When He asks for our service, answer by saying "here am I sent me…"

Conclusion: The colt who became the animal of choice on that first Palm Sunday was but a small detail to the entire story, but it was a perfect choice, a perfect fit. Jesus, the burden-bearer has done all things well. He has established a new covenant with the Father in which He offers His very life for the life of the world. He borrowed that colt to complete His purposes. What is it that He wants from you?  As we begin holy week today may we readily surrender it to Him to be used to His glory. Amen.