Worship Helps for Palm Sunday

Artwork: Entry into Jerusalem 
Artist: unknown
Date: c. 1030

Worship Theme: Palm Sunday gets its name from the palm branches that people spread to make a path of victory for Jesus as he entered Jerusalem. There he would gain a victory they did not expect. The victory over sin and death won for us by his own suffering and death. On Palm Sunday, the crowd hailed Jesus as king. Yet Jesus cried on his way down the Mount of Olives on the donkey, because Jerusalem did not recognize God’s coming to them. Bottom line: Jesus is more than the crowds knew. He is Lord of all. He is King of the world. He wore a crown of thorns for us and for all people. Praise his name forever!

Old Testament: Isaiah 45:22-25 "Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. 23 By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. 24 They will say of me, 'In the LORD alone are righteousness and strength.'" All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame. 25 But in the LORD all the descendants of Israel will be found righteous and will exult.

1. Whom does God want to turn to him? Why?

2. Will people who raged against God get a second chance to repent after death/Judgment Day? Explain.

3. On the other hand, what will all who have descended from Israel do?

Epistle: Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

4. What two things are we to throw off so we can run the race with perseverance?

5. Runners focus on the finish line. On whom do we fix our gaze?

6. What kept Jesus going, despite the shame of the cross?
  
Gospel: Luke 19:28-40 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?' tell him, '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: 38 "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" 39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!" 40 "I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."

7. How did Jesus' entry into Jerusalem resemble that of an earthly king?

8. How was Jesus' entry into Jerusalem different from that of an earthly king?


Answers:
1. God tells all the earth to turn to him and be saved from eternal death apart from him. He is God. There is no other God. In him alone are righteousness and strength.

2. No. People who raged against God will not get a second chance to repent after death/Judgment Day. It will be too late, and they will not want to. They will come to him and be put to shame.

3. Isaiah says, “In the LORD all the descendants of Israel will be found righteous and will exult” (45:25).

4. We need to throw off 1) “everything that hinders” and 2) “the sin that so easily entangles.” (Many things that are not sinful still can keep us from following Jesus and running the race of faith with perseverance if we get too busy with them. Picture trying to run a race with a refrigerator on your back.)

5. In the same way a runner aims at the finish line, we fix our gaze on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.

6. For the joy that would be his, and ours after he accomplished the work the Father gave him, Jesus endured the cross and scorned its shame. Now he is seated in the position of all power and majesty in the universe. He is the Father's equal in every way.

7. Jesus rode into Jerusalem like a king who had been victorious in battle with a crowd shouting his praise. Any people in the crowd who considered Jesus an earthly king were wrong, but Jesus was and is King—the almighty, eternal Savior-King of all people.

8. Jesus rode on a donkey, not a proud war stallion. He entered Jerusalem on a borrowed, lowly donkey, not a horse decked out with the finery and jewels of an earthly kingdom; in lowliness and humility although he is the Son of God. But this humility he bore as one of us. He bore even death on a cross for us and for our salvation.


Putting your faith into action
On this Palm Sunday, we ponder the humble entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, where he was welcomed with praise and respect by those who believed in him, his miracles, and his teachings, but rebuked by the Pharisees. We are told that our attitude “should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” who “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant . . . humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on the cross!” It is difficult for us to imagine ourselves being able to make the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made for us, to live the perfect life of Jesus in a world in which corruption is seen daily on television screens and newspapers and heard on radios. Selfishness seems to run rampant and selflessness seems non-existent. How do we begin modeling our lives after that of Christ, our Servant Leader and King? The answers are found in God’s inspired Word and by managing our spiritual life through regularly reading and studying Scripture. We can walk the humble path of life just as Jesus entered Jerusalem on a colt on Palm Sunday so many years ago.

  
A reading from the Book of Concord for Lent 6
Believing the Gospel is believing that the forgiveness of sins has been granted for Christ’s sake.  This is revealed in the Gospel.  The two parts are joined: contrition when sins are rebuked; and faith when it is said, “Believe in the gospel.”  Contrition and faith are named as the chief parts.
When Paul describes conversion or renewal, he almost everywhere designates these two parts, making dead and making alive, as in Colossians 2:11, “In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands,” namely, “by putting off the body of the flesh.”  And afterward, “in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the powerful working of God” (2:12).  Here are the two parts.  One is putting off the body of sins, the other is the rising again through faith.  These terms “making dead,” “making alive,” “putting off the body of sins,” “rising again” means true terrors, such as those of the dying, which nature could not sustain unless it were supported by faith.  Paul calls that “the putting off the body of sins,” which we ordinarily call contrition.  In these griefs the natural, lustful desire is purged away.  “Making alive” should be understood as comfort that truly sustains life that flickers in contrition.  For conscience cannot be quieted except through faith.  Faith alone makes alive, according to this declaration: “The righteous shall live by his faith” – The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XIIA, Repentance (paragraphs 45-47)

Hymns for this Sunday: 579; 716; 131; 133; 363



363  The King of Glory Comes
Refrain:
The King of glory comes; the nation rejoices.
Open the gates before him; lift up your voices.

1  Who is the King of glory? How shall we call him?
He is Immanuel, the promised of ages.
Refrain

2  In all of Galilee, in city or village,
He goes among his people, curing their illness.
Refrain

3  He gave his life for us, the lamb of salvation;
He took upon himself the sin of the nations.
Refrain

4  He conquered sin and death; he truly has risen,
And he will share with us his heavenly kingdom.
Refrain

Text: Willard F. Jabusch, b. 1930, alt. © 1966, 1985 Willard F. Jabusch

(admin. OCP Publications). All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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