Lectionary Text for Palm Sunday:
Psalm 118: 1-2, 19-29:
1 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his steadfast love endures for ever!
2 Let Israel say,
‘His steadfast love endures for ever.’
19 Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the LORD.
20 This is the gate of the LORD;
the righteous shall enter through it.
21 I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the LORD’s doing;
it is marvellous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25 Save us, we beseech you, O LORD!
O LORD, we beseech you, give us success!
26 Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD.
We bless you from the house of the LORD.
27 The LORD is God,
and he has given us light.
Bind the festal procession with branches,
up to the horns of the altar.
28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God, I will extol you.
29 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
28 After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, “Why are you untying it?” just say this: “The Lord needs it.” 32 So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, ‘Why are you untying the colt?’ 34 They said, ‘The Lord needs it.’ 35 Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, 38 saying…
“Blessed is the king
who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heaven!”
39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, order your disciples to stop.’ 40He answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.’
COMMENT: I marvel at the attention to the detail God pays to our redemption. Jesus really meant what he said what is recorded in Matthew 5:18, “I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” We read in Isaiah 9:6, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…” In Luke 2 we read that Jesus, the Messiah came into the world, a child who grew up to become our Savior.
So, here in our text for this Sunday, we read that Jesus enters Jerusalem in triumphant procession. The day the church now calls Palm Sunday celebrates that Psalm 118:26-27 is fulfilled. “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD… Bind the festal procession with branches, up to the horns of the altar.” Even Jesus riding on a colt keeps Zachariah’s prophesy where he preached, “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Zachariah 9:9
Palm Sunday, the first day of the last week of Jesus’ life begins with rejoicing, but by Friday will turn to rage. This too was a detail in God’s perfect emancipation plan for us and the world. On Friday, Isaiah’s prophesy will come to pass,
“He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
Through his bruises we get healed.
We're all like sheep who have wandered off and gotten lost.
We've all done our own thing, gone our own way.
And God has piled all our sins, everything we've done wrong, on him.”
I confess I will never fully understand this love of and from God that is powerfully active seeking to restore, heal, comfort and protect in every season of life, unto death and beyond. I will be eternally grateful that in Christ I am a recipient of that love and not only me, but all those who put their faith in Jesus.
Let us sing with those who lined the streets of Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heaven!”
©March 23, 2010
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