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Below is what I wrote for my church fellowship group. Have a great Easter Resurrection Celebration.
On the recent Palm Sunday, Andrew sent me an old King’s College Cambridge Easter Choir video. Memories flooded my mind when I recalled many years ago that I used to attend weekly King’s College chapel service… always seated facing the beautiful coloured stained glasses depicting the 12 disciples of Jesus.
This recall led me to a conversation I had with a godly friend (who has leukemia of the blood … we often prayed together) sharing with me the Hebrew take on the story of The Good Samaritan featuring the Priest, Levite and the Samaritan. Being an evangelical Christian, I have no trouble identifying myself with the good Samaritan and being a sheep. To my surprise, my learned friend said that this story is also about the donkey as much as the Samaritan. He went on to share that Jesus chose a donkey to carry him into Jerusalem through the Golden gate (currently the sealed Eastern gate as prophesied in the Old Testament … many Christians who have visited Jerusalem would have noticed this gate). Sheep are not strong enough, hence not suitable to carry the Messiah.
The ox and the donkey are given Sabbath rest in the Old Testament but not the sheep … sheep do not work. In Hebrew thought, a good Jew would make sure that his donkey would not get too heavily loaded. Donkeys faithfully carry the Master’s load quietly, almost unnoticed and without fanfare. Westerners (or Greeks) consider sheep as silly and donkeys, stupid and stubborn. But in actuality, donkeys are dependable, peaceful and doing important work for the Messiah and His kingdom.
I think many of us have seen donkeys… interestingly one could see literally “a cross” on the backs and shoulders of most donkeys.
The carol writer of the beautiful ''O’ little Town of Bethlehem'', Phillips Brooks, once said Christians could pray for a stronger back, not a lighter load. We could have suspected the important role of the donkey but are not sure why. We may find this verse puzzling i.e. Ecclesiastes 1: 9, commonly recited by Rabbis: What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again. Abraham, Moses, David and Solomon used donkeys on important occasions … not surprisingly, Jesus used a donkey too.
Wishing everyone a wonderful Passover and Easter celebration recognising Jesus’ conquest of sin and death ! Shalom !
P.S. may be of interest to note that Samaritan in Hebrew-Aramaic “Samerim” means “to guard” i.e. the Samaritans are the guardians of the Scriptures (Torah).
A Happy Easter to all.