Scripture for Palm and Passion Sunday
Luke 19:28-37 Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King
28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.” 35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. 37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
Isaiah 53: 1-5The Suffering Servant
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 He
grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like
a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. 4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
- Sunday April 5th is Palm and Passion Sunday —- it is a time of celebrating the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem — a time when the crowds lined the streets – joyfully anticipating a change — the king had arrived —- Finally — change was happening – the people felt salvation in the air — to the dismay of the Jewish leadership and the Roman occupiers.
- But the celebration did not last too long – no – like a lot of events in life the celebration was short lived — celebration turned into rejection and accusations – accusations turned into trials – trials turned into torture and then death.
- And now we begin to enter into what the Christian church has called – “Holy Week” – a dark time in the life and ministry of Jesus – which would eventually end in the crucifixion of Jesus – before the glorious resurrection on Easter Sunday.
- For us to fully understand and appreciate Easter – we have to walk through the ever darkening days of Holy Week – towards the darkest day of the Christian Year – Good Friday — good because it is the day that proclaims God’s purpose of loving and redeeming the world through the cross. – It is good – because now we look backward through the lens of Easter to the day of the crucifixion.
- So – let’s start the journey into Holy Week – we begin with today – Palm Sunday.
- Imagine a king – the king that you have been waiting for a very long time — a king is coming that will liberate your people from the occupation of the Roman Empire – is riding a donkey into Jerusalem – and the people are going wild with excitement — the palms are waving and cloaks are being placed in the path of the new regal riding on a donkey.
- But look there is something that is amiss in this picture – it does not confirm to our usual thinking of a celebration and parade.
- Some king you would surmise — where is the prancing white stallion with the king mounted in regal battle garments and the regiments of soldiers to backup and emphasize his power and dominance?
- No – we have Jesus coming in on a donkey – he has walked probably 90 miles from Galilee and now only rides a small donkey about 2 miles into Jerusalem —all of this to fulfill the prophecy in Zachariah 9:9 – “Lo your king comes to you: triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey.”
- But things change in an instant—in several days – the cheers are gone, and condemnation arises. Several days at the beginning of the week have been of challenge and turmoil – and the end is nearing.
- Isaiah’s prophecy in chapter 53 predicts what will be happening towards the end of Holy Week —- 2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. 4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
- Jesus is clearly a suffering servant. — Marred and disfigured– Despised and rejected–a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Declared innocent yet condemned to death. Crowned with thorns. Mocked and reviled. Led off to crucifixion, the most shameful, painful death.
- As the Disciples and Jesus met in the upper room to have the last Seder for Passover or what we know of it as – The Last Supper – Jesus again reminds his Disciples as to his fate as the Suffering Servant and reminds us to remember me in the breaking of the bread and the taking of the wine – the breaking of his body and the sharing of his blood.
- As part of this Sunday’s service, we partake of Holy Communion. In the Gospels Jesus says to remember him as often as they break bread and wine. Bread and wine were a part of nearly every meal. Jesus might not have originally intended a special meal, or Holy Communion, but that every time we break bread, we remember to abide with Jesus.
- Palm Sunday — waving palm branches, but we have to walk through Good Friday in order to celebrate Easter.
Pray for our nation, our leaders, our people, God’s people all around the world to turn our hearts to Him… that He will heal our land & our world, both physically and spiritually. Praying that we will honor Him with our words, our deeds & our lives and that thru this virus crisis, others will come to know Christ Jesus as their Lord & Savior.