This is the week leading up to Easter. The final week of Jesus’ life … and he knew it.

What would you do if you knew it were your last week? What would you do on Monday? On Tuesday? On Wednesday? Who would you spend your time with? Where would you go? What would you intentionally do and say, knowing this was your last chance?

To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have done the same things Jesus did. Actually, I know I wouldn’t have. I wouldn’t have spent time with those I knew would betray me. I wouldn’t have willingly been in the wrong place at the wrong time to make everything right for people who would deny me. But, that’s what our Jesus did. He knew. And he did it all willingly.

To better know our Jesus, I’m spending this week digging deeper into his words and actions in his final week of life here on Earth. I believe you can really learn a lot about a person by seeing what they do when they know this is really the end. Think about what you would do if you knew it was the end … wouldn’t it reveal what was truly most important to you?

In that final week, every detail was intentional for Jesus. Just as your final week would be filled with very intentional acts if you knew. Not a single detail of that week is without significance, so, let’s study the details.

It all begins with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Jerusalem, the place designed for his death. He knew every step toward Jerusalem brought him closer to the end. And how he entered would have significant meaning.

Mark 11: 1-7, “As Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. “Go into that village over there,” he told them. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks, ‘What are you doing?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it and will return it soon.’”
The two disciples left and found the colt standing in the street, tied outside the front door. As they were untying it, some bystanders demanded, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They said what Jesus had told them to say, and they were permitted to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it, and he sat on it.”

Here we find intentional details. Details we are to study so we understand what was truly important to Jesus.

Jesus specifically asked for a donkey to ride into Jerusalem. The donkey was waiting, destined for it’s divine purpose of carrying Jesus for his entry. But why?

First, it was to fulfill the prophesy written 500 years earlier in Zechariah 9:9, “Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey’s colt.” Just as it was written, Jesus arrived riding on a young donkey. John 12: 16 says, “His disciples did not understand these things at first. However, when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him.”

As it was happening, it made no sense to the disciples that Jesus would specifically request a donkey to ride. But, looking back, they saw the fulfillment of the prophesy concerning the Messiah down to every detail. There would be no doubt, Jesus was truly the Son of God and the savior of the world.

This is how we see the fulfillment of God’s promises in our lives. We look back and we see everything he said has happened for us. Not as we thought it would, and not when we expected it would, but without fail, it happens and every detail is as God has promised. We can count on that. Every time. Then and now.

Now, let us understand the importance of this chosen donkey. A king would have chosen a horse ready for war. But Jesus intentionally requested a young donkey. Donkeys were portrayed in scripture as symbols of service, humility, suffering and peace. Jesus riding into his final week of life to the place of sacrifice on a donkey symbolized the arrival of peace.

Not a powerful horse for war, a humble donkey for peace.

And there, Jesus offers a gift to all who would believe in him. John 14: 27, “I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

This word peace in Hebrew was “shalom”. Peace is our cheaper translation of a word with deeper meaning. Peace, as described by most people, is a state of freedom of the mind from anxieties, troubles, and worries. But this peace is temporary. When trouble arrives, we worry and we feel anxious again. Where’s our peace when we lose our job? Where’s our peace when we get that phone call? Where’s our peace when it all falls apart?

Jesus offers us something greater. Something that remains through it all. Something for our minds and hearts through every storm, every loss, every hardship and every season.

Jesus’ gift to us is greater than our understanding of peace, it is SHALOM. The world cannot offer shalom. Shalom is a peace that remains in you forever, regardless of your situation. Shalom does not mean an absence of troubles and hard times, but a deep sense of wholeness even in those times.

Even speaking the word, you feel the impact. Shalom. Shalom.

Shalom comes only through the offering of Jesus.

My sister, I speak SHALOM over your mind. SHALOM over your heart. SHALOM where you are and where you are going. SHALOM as only Jesus can offer.

Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” And guess how this phrase “perfect peace” was spoken? Shalom-shalom. Double shalom. We double up on our shalom when we trust in God and fix our thoughts on him.

This is what Jesus offered, and he offered it by riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, the symbol of shalom. The humble, servant animal no other king would have chosen. But our King intentionally chose just for us.

And the donkey, well, it still carries the cross of Jesus. You will see it even today when you look at a donkey. On it’s back is the marking of a cross. It is the only known animal with this marking on it’s back. Isn’t that just incredible?

Oh you can dismiss it and diminish it if you want, but our God is the God of details. He overlooks nothing, so isn’t it like him to forever mark this chosen, humble animal with the reminder of the forever peace, the perfect peace, the shalom-shalom, Jesus came to give us.

Have you heard the legend of the donkey? It goes like this:

“Many, many years ago, God used a little donkey to carry Mary to Bethlehem where Jesus would be born in a stable and lay in a manger. Many years later, a donkey would carry Jesus to Jerusalem where He would die upon the cross. God marked the donkey’s back with a cross. It stands as a reminder of God’s son Jesus, who was born and died for us all.”

May you notice the details of God in everything around you today. And may you find shalom in those details. Details that remind you God is with you, he is in you, and he is for you. Details that carry you through troubles and hard times and perfectly preserve this peace Jesus has offered to remain in you forever, regardless of your situation.

Remember, all you have to do is trust in God and fix your thoughts on him. That’s your job. The shalom is God’s job.

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