Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the ass or donkey, just before the feast of Passover. “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Look, your king is coming to you! He is humble and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt of a donkey.'” Mat 21:5 But why an ass? Why not a horse or a chariot wagon ox cart?
The ass in the Bible is a symbol of the work of God or His Spirit of God in our lives.
Most of us are familiar with the horse representing man’s ability, or the work of the flesh. Man without God. The horse is an impressive beast that man can trust in as a source of strength, in the time of battle. Psalm 20 tells us”some trust in chariots some in horses but we will remember the name of the Lord God. God’s commentary on this is “A horse is a vain thing for safety; neither shall he deliver by his great strength Psa 33:17.
When Israel was redeemed from Egypt they sang this song after the waters had closed in over Pharaoh and his horses. “I will sing to Jehovah, for He has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider He has thrown into the sea. Exo 15:1). The red sea symbolises water baptism in which God triumphs over the horse (flesh) and the rider (devil who rides or dominates the flesh).
Where the horse is symbolic of works of flesh, the Ass is symbolic of work of God, the work of Christ or the work of the Spirit.
In Numbers 22, the prophet Balaam got on his ass to go on a disobedient mission. On his way, the ass saw the Angel of the Lord and turned out of the path. Balaam smote the donkey to get it back on track. In the end the ass had to collapse under Balaam, to save the disobedient man from being killed. Balaam was angry at the ass and the ass protested his innocence. Finally the Angel of the Lord asked why he had been beating his ass since the ass had been trying to save his life and assured Balaam that “if she had not gone to one side, I would certainly have put you to death and kept her safe.”
Balaam represents all of mankind, we have made mistakes and disobeyed God. The ass is a picture of Jesus and all that he did for us. Jesus, sees the judgement coming and seeks to save mankind from the judgement of the Lord. He never did mankind any harm but like the ass, Christ was misunderstood and punished unjustly. He was an innocent sufferer and the person he was seeking to save, wanted to kill him. The ass like Jesus asked “If I have done no wrong why you strike me? “John 18.23 The ass like Jesus acted in a way to save men from death.
Friend, thank God for his love for sinful men for if Jesus hadn’t saved man and taken the punishment men deserved, we would have been dead too.