Character Sketch

This month’s bible study  |  Read Zechariah 9-11, Matthew 21:1-5

Jesus illustrated His humility when He chose the lowly donkey as His servant


When we think about the biblical story of Christmas, what often comes to mind are mangers, wise men, angels, shepherds and stars. But we don’t often think about donkeys. 

Donkeys are small, unglamorous beasts of burden. While they’re useful for such things as bearing firewood, hauling produce to market or pulling up roots and stumps, they aren’t animals that we associate with pedigree or status. You’ve probably never heard someone say, “What a beautiful donkey you have!”

However, the lowly donkey has served well the King of all creation. It played a key role in not only the Christmas story but also other key events in the life of Jesus. The Gospel narratives do not specifically say Mary rode on a donkey when she and Joseph had to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem, a distance of about 80 miles (see Luke 2). But it is not likely that a young woman who was nine months pregnant would have walked that distance. 

It is also not likely that Joseph would have owned a cart or a horse, based on his economic status. We must therefore assume, like most Christmas artists, that Mary traveled by donkey. 

When Zechariah prophesied about the coming of Zion’s king, he said: “See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey” (Zech. 9:9, NIV). Most students of the Bible assume this points to Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem—and this is valid—but it can also refer to His entry into Bethlehem while still in Mary’s womb.

The Fire Bible: Global Study Edition, in its note about Zechariah 9:9, says, “The coming of the King (Christ’s first coming) would be a great cause for rejoicing, not because of His royal splendor or conquering power, but because of His humility.” 

You can’t get more humble than being born in a stable surrounded by a donkey, and a few head of other livestock. But there was indeed rejoicing both by the angels on high and by shepherds below when Jesus came in the form of a man, as a baby, so He might be like us in every way. 

The next time we see Jesus with a donkey is in Matthew 21:6-11. Here, He enters Jerusalem in a manner similar to a conquering hero, returning triumphant to Rome. But, again, He did so in the most humble way—on a female donkey and the young colt she was training. 

He did not come on a noble steed or riding in a powerful chariot; He came in gentleness and peace. He came prepared to die that we may be forgiven of our sins and be re-established in a right relationship with the Father. 

At this Christmas season, think about the next time Jesus will appear. At that time He will come seated on a great white horse (see Rev. 19:11). He will come to put an end to all sin, suffering, sickness and sorrow. 

He came humbly to a stable, He entered Jerusalem humbly on a donkey—but He will return in victory! This Christmas remember to look not only back to Jesus’ birth but also forward to His soon return. 

  • Donald Trump certainly needs your prayers.

    Why You Must Pray for Donald Trump

    Here are eight ways I plan to intercede for President Trump regularly.

  • Pastor Jim Garlow in a file photo shown praying.

    Conservative Christian Leaders Gather in DC, Calling Trump's Election an Answer to Prayer

    "Although the news media is predicting protests, what I'm seeing is that everyone is abuzz ...

  • Here's a prophetic word for Washington, D.C.

    Prophecy: The Lord Is Raising Up Daniels in DC

    I believe we're on the precipice of a Third Great Awakening the Lord spoke to my heart about in ...

  • Roadblock

    6 Roadblocks That Will Stop Your Spiritual Growth

    God wants you to grow in your faith, but many of us get stuck along the way.

  • Does any of this reflect what's going on in your marriage?

    9 Characteristics of a Healthy Sexual Relationship for a Believer

    A healthy sexual relationship for a Christian couple takes effort, and it's worth working for.

  • Bishop Eddie Long died at 63.

    Bishop Eddie Long Dead at 63

    "Although his transition leaves a void for those of us who loved him dearly, we can celebrate ...

  • The devil will try to silence you in any way he can. Don't give him the satisfaction.

    Satan's 2 Most Potent Lies to Render You Ineffective

    There's something in you so powerful that Satan doesn't want it out. Kyle Winkler reveals ...

  • Watch for these danger signals for choosing poorly.

    4 Signs You're Making a Bad Decision

    Avoid distraction and disappointment by testing your choices with these 4 principles.

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit