Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday Meditation

Palm Sunday Meditation

We celebrate today the coming of the King into Jerusalem. I think if Hollywood were to put Palm Sunday into a movie they probably would have Jesus coming in a military tank surrounded by an army ready to declare war. But Hollywood has never read Zechariah. Jesus is King, but Jesus is a king in a far different way than all other kings are kings. As king, He comes endowed with salvation, humble, mounted on a donkey, even a colt, the foal of a donkey. As king, He conquers by offering Himself for His people. And if we want to share His conquest, we must go and do likewise.

The way of kingship is cross before crown; suffering before glory. Jesus turns everything upside down: his coming was filled with nuanced symbolic meaning. His arrival was true to the Hebrew Scriptures, but it was true in a way that they did not expect. The Westminster Shorter Catechism says that one way Christ executes his office of king is by ruling and defending us. The Jews wanted to be ruled and defended, but they did not want to be ruled and defended in the way Christ wanted to rule and defend.  Sometimes we want a king, but we want him to function the way we think best. Palm Sunday is the announcement that Christ’s kingship is expressed in a unique way; in a way that puzzles the crowd, but still in a way that gives them hope. May this hope be ours today.

Prayer: Almighty God, on this day, your son Jesus Christ entered the holy city of Jerusalem and was proclaimed King by those who spread garments and palm branches along his way.  Let those branches be for us signs of his victory, and grant that we who bear them in his name may ever hail him as our Lord, and follow him in the way that leads to eternal life.  In his name we pray. Amen.

Which Crowd?

Which Crowd?

Doug Wilson summarizes well that the crowd that received Jesus is not the same crowd that cried out “Crucify him:”

There are many things that can be drawn out of this story, but this morning, we are just going to focus on one of them. When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem—where He was to be lifted up and draw all men to Himself—He was greeted by multitudes. Contrary to the popular assumption that the Triumphal Entry crowd and the “crucify Him” crowd were the same people, we have no reason for identifying them. These people who greeted Him were doing so sincerely. Jesus was approaching Jerusalem in order to save multitudes, and He was greeted there by multitudes. Their central cry was Hosanna, which means “Save, we pray.” In other words, we are praying that You would save us. “Yes,” He answered.

Palm Sunday Meditation

Palm Sunday Meditation

We celebrate today the coming of the King into Jerusalem. I think if Hollywood were to put Palm Sunday into a movie they probably would have Jesus coming in a military tank surrounded by an army ready to declare war. But Hollywood has never read Zechariah. Jesus is King, but Jesus is a king in a far different way than all other kings are kings. As king, He comes endowed with salvation, humble, mounted on a donkey, even a colt, the foal of a donkey. As king, He conquers by offering Himself for His people. And if we want to share His conquest, we must go and go likewise.

The way of kingship is cross before crown; suffering before glory. Jesus turns everything upside down: his coming was filled with nuanced symbolic meaning. His arrival was true to the Hebrew Scriptures, but it was true in a way that they did not expect. The Westminster Shorter Catechism says that one way Christ executes his office of king is by ruling and defending us. The Jews wanted to be ruled and defended, but they did not want to be ruled and defended in the way Christ wanted to rule and defend.  Sometimes we want a king, but we want him to function the way we think best. Palm Sunday is the announcement that Christ’s kingship is expressed in a unique way; in a way that puzzles the crowd, but still in a way that gives them hope. May this hope be ours today.

Prayer: Almighty God, on this day, your son Jesus Christ entered the holy city of Jerusalem and was proclaimed King by those who spread garments and palm branches along his way.  Let those branches be for us signs of his victory, and grant that we who bear them in his name may ever hail him as our Lord, and follow him in the way that leads to eternal life.  In his name we pray. Amen.

The Passion Week

“Jesus proceeded toward his holy passion to consummate the mystery of our salvation. The Word had come down from heaven to raise us from the depths of sin. He marched to this destiny without flags and banners, without knives and swords…without the symbols of power people like to use to put others in awe and submission. Meekly, humbly, simply he rode an awkward animal to the site of his blessed passion.”[1]


[1] Alfred McBride, The Divine Presence of Jesus: Meditation and Commentary on the Gospel of John, 112

Riding on a Donkey

The Concordia Journal observes that John is using the donkey as key in this text.  The donkey pointed to the Passion Week. The donkey, though used as kingly transportation in the Solomonic days, was also a symbol of peace.

He was riding on a donkey to show just how he would defeat all our enemies.

Jesus does not come to war against His enemies with human weapons, but with humility and blood.

Translation of Luke 13:31-35

This Sunday’s Gospel lesson is from St. Luke 13:31-35. Here is my translation of this text:

31 -In that same hour, some Pharisees came up, saying to Him: “Go away and leave this place. Herod wants to kill you.”

32 – And He said to them: Go and tell that fox, ‘Look, I am going to expel (exorcise) demons and cure people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will complete my agenda.

33 – Nevertheless it is necessary that I journey today and tomorrow, and on the following day; for it cannot happen that a prophet perish except[1] in Jerusalem.[2]

34 – Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You are the one killing the prophets and stoning the ones sent to you! How often did I want to bring you together[3], like a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you refused to do so.

35 – Look, your house is left to you desolate,[4] and I say to you, you will not see Me until you are prepared to say, ‘Blessed is the One coming in the name of the Lord.’


[1] N.T. Wright translates it this way in his The Kingdom New Testament.

[2] Or “outside” Jerusalem. The idea, however, is that this is the only appointed place for Jesus to die.

[3] “Collect” or “gather”

[4] It has been abandoned. The glory has departed.