Although the triumphant entrance of Jesus on the back of a donkey into the city of Jerusalem two thousand years ago was all part of God's master plan for the redemption of mankind - it resulted in immediate disaster. Yes, Jesus put Himself on a donkey, and He did so in sacrifice to exchange His life for the life of all of humanity. In riding the donkey through the heart of Jerusalem during Passover Jesus made Himself a real-time threat to the Pharisee's and Temple, as well as to Caesar and Rome - the powers of religion and politics. Jesus knew His donkey ride would get Him killed. It did - that was the plan, God's plan. Let me explain.
We know for certain that the mission and message of Jesus started in a manger finished on a cross was done for all - He came for all - He died for all - message delivered to all, mission accomplished for all. The only way for that to happen was for Him to come to this world and die at the hand of the world He was dying for. Getting on that donkey was the means to that end. However, the personal ministry of Jesus that took place between the manger and the cross was to a more focused and targeted community. Jesus invested His message and mission within the hearts and spirits of His friends, family, and followers and poured Himself into those individuals and persecuted communities who then (once transformed) would do the same for others just as He had taught them.
Love Openly - Give Freely - Forgive Quickly - Speak Truthfully - Pray Faithfully
His actual ministry to followers and disciples numbered far less than His mission itself would ultimately accomplish (to all the world). His mission was and is God's unlimited and perfect plan of redemption and salvation for all men, women and children - of all color, creed and culture. His personal ministry was warmly intimate, deeply personal, uniquely and radically transforming. There is nothing like it - not before us - during us - nor long after us. The personal ministry of Jesus is life-giving and everlasting. Listen to some of the personal ministry responses of Jesus.
Active and Actual Ministry of Jesus
To Zacchaeus He says... "Zacchaeus hurry come down for I must stay at your house today. Today salvation has come to this house, for the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."
To Nicodemus He says... "Don't marvel that I said to you, you must be born again. The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."
To the Woman at the Well He says... "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water I will give him will become in him a spring of living water welling up eternal life."
To Martha the Sister of Lazarus He says... "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me though he die, yet will he live, and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?
To the Thief on the Cross He says... "I'm telling you the truth, today you will be with Me in paradise."
These conversations were the distinctive imprint Jesus' personal ministry. What do you hear Him saying? He was open, compassionate, honest, loving, just, challenging, caring and sincere. But more than anything in His personal ministry Jesus was revealing and connected - that gave to whomever He was ministering - hope. None of those things happen from the back of a donkey.
Context and Conclusion
In our day, for Christians and followers of Christ to put Jesus on a donkey is to weaponize His personal ministry and to mis-represent every word of love He ever spoke. To put Jesus back on a donkey is to politicize and exploit His mission and message. To put Jesus back on a donkey is to put at risk the possibilities responsibilities we ourselves have for true personal ministry. The personal ministry only achieved through genuine relationship building filled with compassionate care and concern for others. To put Jesus back on a donkey is to say that His mission and message were political not spiritual, conceived in social protest not in soulful unrest, fueled by religious exploitation not righteous indignation, driven by the hunger for power. The place of Jesus is not as a political football. Here are a few of those agenda's that will undermine and contradict the personal ministry of Jesus - and truly show us "how Christmas was killed."
Gentle Jesus - The Pacifist
Caring Jesus - The Humanitarian
Hero Jesus - The Revolutionary
Hostile Jesus - The Militant/Anti-Establishment
Open Jesus - The LGBT Activist
Intolerant Jesus - The Right Wing Watch Dog
Tolerant Jesus - The Left Wing Socialist
Good Jesus - The Co-Existist
Conquering Jesus - Politician/Globalist
Some of these views (though not all!) contain elements of truth. But generally even where some truth is present, if there is an improper emphasis placed on one aspect of Christ’s teaching or example then it misrepresents the true context or meaning of His mission and message - damaging personal ministry. The real message and mission of Jesus is not the figment of our imagination or personal preferences - the Jesus who comforts and does not correct us in our errors and confirms but does not chastise us in our prejudices and preconceived notions.
Jesus values, loves and died for every pacifist, humanitarian, revolutionary, militant, activist, conservative, left or right, gay or straight, man or woman, politician or religion. He did this FOR ALL.
However, with all due respect, sincere compassion and regard, the plain truth (pause), whether we want to hear it or not - when those agendas are used to hate, hurt, or to be hostile to other human beings we put Jesus back on the donkey - they will kill personal ministry, because they do not represent the mission and message of Jesus.
It is not the "world" as it is called that does this. It is not those who persecute or hate Christianity or Christmas who kill it. Mockers, disbelievers, haters, persecutors can't kill our faith, our hope, our belief's, or our Christmas - only we can. Persecution only causes true Christianity to flourish - to grow and multiply. That is historically and biblically verified - times over.
Currently the "No platforming strategies" used against Christianity by big-tech media corporations will not, do not, cannot kill Christmas - but Christians weaponizing the love, justice, forgiveness, righteousness, and the selfless merciful ministry of our Savior Jesus Christ will.
Jesus put Himself on the donkey - so He could SAVE US
We put Jesus on the donkey - so we can SAVE OURSELVES
Jesus said, "For whoever would save their life will lose it, but whoever will loses their life for my sake will save it."
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away form the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book."