So … We really got into the intricacy of the Scriptures last evening at our Monday evening Bible Conversation. Our text: Matthew 21:1-11. The verses: “Untie them, and bring them to me.” “They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on.”
As hard as we tried, we couldn’t get ourselves past the “them“. How do you ride two animals at once? Mark, Luke and John tell the same story, but with only one animal. Why does Matthew put Jesus straddling two animals – a donkey and her colt?
This story is told, say Matthew and John, in order that the prophetic word might be fulfilled – but then, the translation of the “prophetic word” doesn’t jive between the two evangelists. Were they reading from different translations of Zechariah 9? Riding two animals at once conjures up the image of a circus act – impressive perhaps, but not exactly how a king comes to town. Round and round we went, wondering if there is some deep significance to it all. Or … Maybe Matthew was trying to be a literalist in his reading of the Scripture. Was he mistaken in his understanding? What does it mean?
It seems that, no matter who is telling it, whenever Jesus comes to town reason and absurdity collide. Sick people get well and sinners claim to be forgiven and smart people get confused. Whether Jesus rode in on an ass (John), or a donkey and her colt (Matthew), some people were shouting “Hosanna!” while other people were plotting his demise. As tragic as it all is, and even knowing what Friday would bring, one can’t help but chuckle at the absurdity of it all.
“Holy absurdity …” Have you got any of that in your life?