Worship Helps for Palm Sunday

Entry into Jerusalem

Worship Theme: Hail the King who humbly comes to save us! For 1700 years the Church has celebrated with Hosannas and palm branches this festival that opens Holy Week. The time for Christ’s glory had come. He would not, however, gain glory in the manner of other kings. Rather, he would humble himself in great acts of love for us, and then the Father would exalt him to the highest place, because he had fulfilled God’s mission to save mankind.

Old Testament: Zechariah 9:9,10 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. 10 I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.

1. Zechariah writes 520 years before Christ. What does Zechariah say Jesus will bring for all people? (See 9:9.)

2. Look at 9:10. What amazing gift would this King riding on a donkey bring?

3. How does Zechariah give us a picture of the salvation our King would bring in verse 10?

Epistle: Philippians 2:5-11 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

4. As followers of Jesus what kind of attitude are we to have?

5. Why is it such a surprising thing that Jesus humbled himself all the way to the most cursed death, that of a cross?

6. Because Jesus was willing to endure so much for us, what glory did God the Father, give him?

Gospel: Mark 11:1-10 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, 2 saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone asks you, 'Why are you doing this?' tell him, 'The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.'" 4 They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, 5 some people standing there asked, "What are you doing, untying that colt?" 6 They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. 7 When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9 Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" 10 "Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!" "Hosanna in the highest!"

7. If Jesus knew details about the colt, etc., ahead of time, what else must he know in advance?

8. What does the word hosanna mean?

1. Zechariah says Jesus will come into Jerusalem with salvation― eternal life― for all people.

2. Peace.

3. What a picture: There would be no more instruments of war. In Zechariah’s day the instruments of war were chariots, warhorses and bows. Today we would say that there would be no more guns, missiles, tanks, bombers, or fighters. Instead there would be peace throughout the earth, and the King (Jesus) would rule over all. This picture finds its fulfillment in heaven, and on the new earth where sin and war will rage no more for God’s people.

4. We are to have the same attitude as Christ Jesus, who humbled himself in service to his Father and others.

5. If we had been in a position of authority over all things, we probably wouldn’t want to give it up to serve others, let alone die under God’s curse on the cross. Jesus left the glory of heaven to live in a world filled with sin, violence and death. What great love for sinners!

6. The Father gave the Son back the full use of the position the Son had always had from eternity: equality with the Father in every way. Now when we worship Jesus as Lord, God the Father receives the glory he deserves. Let us do this now and forever!

7. If Jesus knew about the colt, etc., Jesus must have known all that would happen in his betrayal, suffering and crucifixion. What love for us and for the Father he had!

8. Hosanna literally meant, “Please, save.” It was a plea for deliverance. Because we generally only call for rescue to people great enough to help, over the centuries hosanna became a shout of exclamation or praise to someone great.

Putting your faith into action
Could a prophecy made about 25 centuries ago about an event about 20 centuries ago change our lives? Absolutely. As the prophet Zechariah here sees Jesus coming so humbly to save us, we learn what grace, and our lives under God’s grace, are all about. We’re not here to do whatever we want. Humble faith leads to humble willingness to do whatever God wants.

A reading from the Book of Concord for Palm Sunday
Thy kingdom come.  In the First Petition we prayed about God’s honor and name.  We prayed that He would prevent the world from adorning its lies and wickedness with God’s name, but that He would cause His name to be valued as great and holy both in doctrine and life, so that He may be praised and magnified in us.  Here we pray that His kingdom also may come.  But just as God’s name is holy in itself, and we still pray that it be holy among us, so also His kingdom comes of itself, without our prayer.  Yet we still pray that it may come to us, that is, triumph among us and with us, so that we may be a part of those people among whom His name is hallowed and His kingdom prospers.
“But what is God’s kingdom?”  Answer, “Nothing other than what we learned in the Creed: God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, into the world to redeem and deliver us from the devil’s power.  He sent Him to bring us to Himself and to govern us as a King of righteousness, life, and salvation against sin, death, and an evil conscience.  For this reason He has also given His Holy Spirit, who is to bring these things home to us by His holy Word and to illumine and strengthen us in the faith by His power.”
We pray here that this may happen with us.  We pray that His name may be so praised through God’s holy Word and a Christian life that it may gain approval and acceptance among other people. – Large Catechism, Part III (paragraphs 49-52)

Text of a Palm Sunday hymn: Hosanna, Loud Hosanna
Hosanna, loud hosanna, The little children sang;
Through pillared court and temple The lovely anthem rang.
To Jesus, who had blessed them, Close folded to his breast,
The children sang their praises, The simplest and the best.

From Olivet they followed Mid an exultant crowd,
The victor palm branch waving And chanting clear and loud.
The Lord of saints and angels Rode on in lowly state
Nor scorned that little children Should on his bidding wait.

"Hosanna in the highest!" That ancient song we sing,
For Christ is our Redeemer, The Lord of heav'n, our King.
Oh, may we ever praise him With heart and life and voice

And in his royal presence Eternally rejoice.


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