“What a piece of junk!” exclaimed Luke Skywalker upon first laying eyes on smuggler Han Solo’s Millenium Falcon.
Overpowered and overarmed for its size, a ship that nearly tore itself apart when flown too fast, and in dire need of overhauls to its faulty systems is how the USS Defiant is described to the crew of the station Deep Space Nine.
A rundown “death trap” and a fixer-upper is what Zoë Washbourne thinks of Serenity after Mal Reynolds buys the old ship.
All three ships went on to have legendary and storied careers, as did their crews. Appearances can be deceiving.
Or maybe not. It’s true that these ships became legends. But at the end of the day, the Falcon was still a piece of junk that was constantly breaking down. The Defiant was refitted, but never worked quite right. And on numerous occasions, critical parts simply broke off of Serenity in flight. These weren’t exactly the best ships. But they got the job done because the people who rode them–humble ‘businessmen’ and a crew of a backwater station–knew who they were.
Kings rode into cities they conquered on horses, magnificent beasts of war. Donkeys, on the other hand, were humbler beasts, connected to common people, and signs of peace (nobody rides to war on a donkey, after all). The crowd that greets Jesus on his final entrance into the city of Jerusalem shouts “Hosanna!” (“Save us!”), expecting him to be the Messiah that will free from Roman rule and sit on the throne of David as the king of Judah. They expected a horse and a warrior to ride it.
Instead, Jesus rode a donkey. Not as a war hero, but a humble man of peace. Not to overthrow the Romans, but to die by their hands. Not to sit on an earthly throne, but to claim a monarchy not of this world. Not as a fighter, but one who refused to defend himself from accusation.
Appearances can be deceiving. Or maybe not.