Liturgy of the Palms

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Liturgy of the Palms (April 9, 2017)


Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
    His faithful love endures forever.

Let all Israel repeat:
    “His faithful love endures forever.”

Open for me the gates where the righteous enter,
    and I will go in and thank the Lord.
These gates lead to the presence of the Lord,
    and the godly enter there.
I thank you for answering my prayer
    and giving me victory!

The stone that the builders rejected
    has now become the cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing,
    and it is wonderful to see.
This is the day the Lord has made.
    We will rejoice and be glad in it.
Please, Lord, please save us.
    Please, Lord, please give us success.
Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
    We bless you from the house of the Lord.
The Lord is God, shining upon us.
    Take the sacrifice and bind it with cords on the altar.
You are my God, and I will praise you!
    You are my God, and I will exalt you!

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
    His faithful love endures forever.

Matthew 21:1-11 | New Living Translation (NLT)

As Jesus and the disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the town of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead.“Go into the village over there,” he said. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a donkey tied there, with its colt beside it. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will immediately let you take them.”

This took place to fulfill the prophecy that said,

“Tell the people of Jerusalem,
    ‘Look, your King is coming to you.
He is humble, riding on a donkey—
    riding on a donkey’s colt.’”

The two disciples did as Jesus commanded. They brought the donkey and the colt to him and threw their garments over the colt, and he sat on it.

Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting,

“Praise God for the Son of David!
    Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
    Praise God in highest heaven!”

The entire city of Jerusalem was in an uproar as he entered. “Who is this?” they asked.

And the crowds replied, “It’s Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”


This Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week.  The church traditionally kicks off Holy Week with Palm Sunday.  This remembers Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  It really is a bit ironic.  The people were looking for a king to save them.  The gospel writer tells us that this event fulfills one of the many prophecies about Jesus.  It now looks like the whole world is for Jesus and yet the reality is very different.  The gospel writer John records these words from the Pharisees: “There’s nothing we can do. Look, everyone has gone after him!”  This is one of the pivotal points in John.  Up until now the people, the people were seeking after Jesus, but John records that this is when people started turning away from Jesus.

The people were looking for a king to save them.  In fact the word, “Hosanna” means God save us. In the text above “Hosanna” is translated as “Praise God in the highest heaven.”  We often think of hosanna as a word of praise…I thought that for many years…but hosanna is a cry meaning save now.  Think of how that applies this morning to this passage.  The people of Israel were looking for a king to save them.  Here he was – right before their very eyes…even saying “blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” There Savior was right there and yet they did not see.  They did not see that this man riding into Jerusalem on a young colt would save them.  Just a few days later, he would be lifted up on a tree for all to see and die for the sins of all.

That salvation is available for all.  Over Holy Week, I will be blogging through the texts of the week.  As I look through the books of the gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), we see there are many events that happened between Sunday and Friday.  We will be taking a look at those and seeing what we can learn as we take our final steps to the cross.

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