Lent: Why Did Jesus Ride a Donkey?

We Come in Peace - Jesus riding a donkey signaled a peaceful entryWe come in peace.

Did an image of a little green alien come to mind? Star Trek? A 90’s movie? “We come in peace” has long been a friendly science fiction greeting to calm the fears of a potential adversary.

Jesus communicates peace without words.

As the people shout “Hosanna! Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Luke 19:38), Jesus rides a donkey into Jerusalem signaling His peaceful arrival. Throughout the Old Testament and at the time of Jesus, peaceful royal ceremonies utilized donkeys as when King David relinquished the throne to his son Solomon (1 Kings 1:32-40). Arriving by war horse or chariot signaled battle as when Jehu overthrew the kings of Israel and Judah (2 Kings 9) or as Pharaoh chased the Israelites into the Red Sea (Exodus 14).

Jesus reigns over a kingdom of physical, relational, and spiritual peace.

The priorities and values of the world often contradict those of God’s kingdom. Some say the Kingdom of God turns the kingdoms of this world upside down. The Bible outlines many counter-intuitive and counter-cultural behaviors that foster peace in our physical world, in our soul, and in our relationships.

Jesus says: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. 
John 14:27

The following scriptures reference just a few of the many ways God’s kingdom differs from the world. As you read through the list, consider how these compare with your current behaviors.

Physical Peace:

  • Zechariah’s prophesy that the righteous Messiah would arrive by donkey also speaks of taking away chariots, war-horses, and battle bows. Zechariah 9
  • In God’s new creation after Christ’s return, the wolf and the lamb will live together peacefully. Isaiah 65:25

Spiritual Peace:

  • Release guilt and be assured of God’s forgiveness. Romans 8:1-3
  • Get rid of bitterness and anger that eat away at your soul. Practice forgiveness. Ephesians 4:31-32
  • Think about things that are true, pure, just, and praiseworthy. Philippians 4:8
  • Don’t think you’re too good to hang out with people of lower status than you. Romans 12:16
  • Resist criticizing or condemning but show mercy, forgive and be generous. Luke 6:36-38
  • Stop comparing yourself to others and accept who you are; God created a uniquely beautiful you. Psalm 139:13-14

Relational Peace:

God's peace leads to human flourishingGod’s peace leads to human flourishing, His intention for you and me.

These lists name only some of the many ways God’s kingdom brings peace. Every item challenges me. Which one stands out as the most challenging for you?

Let’s ponder the ways we make and bring peace. Choose one and take action to create peace. Click on the links above to read God’s Word regarding His desire for this community.

  1. Review your 15 most recent social media comments (not reactions). Do they reflect God’s kingdom values? Do they show respect, encouragement, and seek understanding?
  2. Consider your social and work circles. Do your friends and acquaintances demonstrate the “unity amid diversity” character of God’s peaceful, inclusive kingdom?
  3. Recall your most recent work or family conflict. Was it resolved with empathy and open communication? Does the relationship need repair? Can you initiate a conversation, then listen actively and respectfully to bring harmony, if not agreement?
  4. Is there a person or people group you dislike (or hate)? Perhaps you’ve never spoken the word ‘hate’, but you wrinkle your nose and avoid them. Could you pray for them? Seek to understand their life? How could you show kindness and generosity?
  5. Do you hold a grudge or remain bitter about something? God wants you to let it go so you can have peace. How might you release this burden? Is forgiveness required?

Let’s work to bring the peace of God’s kingdom into our circles of influence. We come in peace.

Peace is not the only way Jesus flips the world upside down. Jesus upsets the entire social structure and often contradicts the world’s values. We seek “Thy will be done on earth,” but do we know what we’re asking for? The kingdom stands in contrast to the world.

#seedsofscripture #readthebiblebetter #biblestudy #palmsunday2024 #palmsunday #wecomeinpeace #peacefulkingdom #godspeace #lent2024 #lentenjourney #lent #kingdomofgod


  1. Marilyn Nutter on March 21, 2024 at 6:10 AM

    Cathy I appreciated your initial contrast here if a chariot and warlike entrance vs the peace of a donkey. Your take away application questions offer much food for thought as to accessing the peace that is ours for the asking. Thank you,

  2. J.D. Wininger on March 28, 2024 at 7:51 PM

    Yes! While donkeys are actually quite fierce when protecting their “family”/herd, they call them warhorses, not wardonkeys. Great points to make Ms. Cathy. Thank you ma’am.

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