Week 7 - Why Not On A Horse?

Week 7

Why not on a horse?

By Sybout van der Meer

“Say to Daughter Zion,

   ‘See, your king comes to you,

gentle and riding on a donkey,

   and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ” — Matthew 21:5, NIV

As a lover of Johann Sebastian Bach’s music, every year on Good Friday, I am in one of the historic churches in Amsterdam or The Hague listening to the German version of the Mattheüs Passion. During Holy Week this year, I will also attend a modern musical called The Passion.  

Both performances tell a story of glorification against disappointment, distress and loss. Those are inevitable experiences of life for nearly all of us. Both the classic composition of Bach and the modern musical invite us to reflect on the events of the last week of Jesus’ life as we consider our personal walk with Christ.

The scene that the Gospel writer describes is what we have come to call Palm Sunday. Likely, he had witnessed the triumphal entry of a conquering emperor or a general sitting high upon his horse. Isn’t this how a great ruler should make an entrance?

In contrast, Matthew mentions how the servant king, Jesus, entered Jerusalem riding a donkey.

The conqueror comes in looking at people from on high. Those in the crowd have to raise their heads to see him, while the servant king and the people can see each other face-to-face, eye-to-eye.

At times, relief workers with the best intentions did not realize that they behaved as little emperors, sitting on a high horse. May Habitat for Humanity be blessed with workers who are by preference on an equal footing with those they work alongside to build a better future. May we always be humble and faithful working in the way Jesus showed us.   


Dear Lord, will You help us to see how Jesus totally shared life with the hungry and thirsty ones, looked after those who had no shelter, healed the wounded and the sick. We thank You for Jesus’ life. The Easter message with the promise of new life is an encouragement for us to support worldwide initiatives of new life for our sisters and brothers in need. Make us real servants of Your promised new world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


  1. How do you express the holiness of this week before Easter?   

  2. Do you recognize how those who seek to offer help could easily be seen as ones “high on a horse”? How can you encourage the heart of a servant in others?

  3. Do you need to make adjustments to your own work attitude?

  4. How can you encourage and support the people around you who seek to create peace and justice on all levels?

Sybout van der Meer is the founder and was chairman of Habitat for Humanity Netherlands and is a former member of the board of directors of Habitat for Humanity International.

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