And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck: and all the firstborn of man among thy children shalt thou redeem.
Exodus 13:13 (KJV)
Redeem – Did you know that a donkey is the only unclean animal that is required to be redeemed?
In the verse prior (Exodus 13:12) we read that all firstborn of the livestock are to be separated unto God. Israelites owned only clean animals; cows, goats, sheep. But they also owned donkeys, an unclean animal, and the donkey had to be redeemed with a lamb. If it wasn’t redeemed, the owner would have to break its neck. If they weren’t going to redeem it unto God, then they weren’t allowed to use it for their own purpose.
So why is this a law? Why donkeys?
Well the letter to the Hebrews explains that the law is a shadow of the good things to come (Hebrews 10:1). So was there another time when something unclean needed to be redeemed with a lamb? Think about this a bit.
There’s a time in history when an unclean people were redeemed with the Lamb of God. Yeshua’s death is about redemption. So let’s take a look at the law again. If Yeshua is the lamb, then who are we? We’re the asses. We’re the donkey that needed redemption.
Now let’s think about other great moments that involved donkeys. Yes, we know the story of Balak’s talking donkey. But there’s another story I want to draw your attention to – the story of Yeshua riding on a donkey as He entered Jerusalem. In that story, the donkey’s burden was to carry Yeshua into the city. If we’re the donkey, how does that relate to us?
Our burden is to carry forth the Word of God into the world. This is our responsibility. If we don’t believe in the redemptive power of the Messiah, then we are as useless as a broken neck donkey.