THIS is a story of a borrowed donkey, a borrowed room and a borrowed tomb.
He came from his home territory in the rural north down to the seat of civic and religious authority in the south. He was an itinerant teacher whose down-to-earth approach had struck a chord with the working folk up-country and he was popular and respected.
He was travelling south for a religious festival accompanied by a group of friends and compatriots. When they reached the outskirts of the capital, Jerusalem, he sent two friends to go ahead and borrow a donkey.
He mounted the donkey and rode into the city. It was happy, joyful occasion and those with him sang and danced, laying their cloaks on the road and waving branches torn from trees.
When the time for the festival drew near he sent two of his friends to go and borrow a room where they could make preparations for his inner circle to eat together.
In the evening they gathered and in the course of the meal he became quiet and thoughtful, then he took some bread and broke it into pieces and shared it among them and they passed the cup of wine from one to another.
He had warned them he would be killed but they had shied away from the thought but when he said: “This is my body and this is my blood” they knew the time had come.
Later that night he was arrested and after a sham trial the next day he was crucified after a savage beating. The caption over his cross read ‘Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.’
By the early evening he was dead. He was buried in a borrowed tomb belonging to one Joseph from Arimathaea who had gone to the Roman Governor and asked for the body.
This man had no home and very little he could call his own.
The one thing that was his own was his cross and wherever a cross is erected or displayed this man is remembered.
It is because of the manner of his death that those who suffer wherever they might be or whoever they might be can know that he shares their suffering with them.
For when God chose to give us a glimpse of himself he did not do so in the grandeur of an earthly king but in this man dying on a cross who shares our wounds.
But there is a sequel to this story for three days later the tomb was found to be empty and he made known to his friends in a new way that he was alive and for over two centuries he has made himself known to thousands who had been drawn to believe in him.
Rev Barbara Cottrell
(Retired Baptist Minister)