My childhood home was a safe place. I never remember being afraid to enter the house. I never once worried about an abusive father who might beat me or drug-addicted mother who might be strung out in a stupor. Within the walls of our home, I always felt safe and secure. My husband had a very different home. His mother’s schizophrenic behavior made it hard for him to predict what he would find when he opened the front door.
In Luke 19, Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem before Passover. Jerusalem, with its magnificent temple, was in many ways his home. Wasn’t the Temple where his Father dwelt? But for Jesus, this home was not a safe place. The Jewish priests and leaders wanted to kill him.
That Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into the city on a donkey. The donkey had never been ridden before, yet it allowed Jesus to sit on its back. A crowd of people on all sides waved coats and palm branches in its face, but the donkey did not bolt from the path. Jesus’ legs hugged the flank of the animal as it swayed. Jesus touched the bristles of its neck, assuring the animal of its safety.
Did Jesus, riding on that donkey, remember another trip on a donkey many years earlier? That time the animal carried Mary and a baby away from danger and toward the safety of Egypt. On Palm Sunday, a different donkey carried Jesus into Jerusalem, toward danger.
Some of you reading this devotional look forward to being with your family at Christmas, but others of you may dread going home. Take heart from Jesus’ promise in John 14:1,2. “Don’t be troubled. You trust in God, now trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s home, and I am going to prepare a place for you.” One day we can all look forward to going home to the Father’s house. Jesus is already there putting fresh sheets on the bed and dusting the dresser. His promise is like a hand steadying a frightened colt. It assures us that we will always find safety within the boundaries of his home.