Palm Sunday                                 14 April 2019 A.D.

Psalm 24                         Zechariah 9:9-12                 Mark 11:1-11

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who of thy tender 
love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son, our Savior
 Jesus Christ, to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer
 death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the
 example of his great humility; Mercifully grant, that we
 may both follow the example of his patience, and also be
 made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus
 Christ our Lord. Amen.
      
      Palm Sunday falls within the period of the church calendar known as Passiontide.
This period, not widely observed by many churches today, focuses on the intense period of the last days of Christ’s earthly ministry. This would include his last days of life before his brutal death, one that he willingly went to Jerusalem to face.  Also during this period we will read where several more prophecies will be fulfilled.  The Old Testament reading from the prophet Zechariah is an excellent example. ‘...behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon the colt the foal of an ass.’
     He is a king, the king of the people of Zion, of Jerusalem, and yet he comes to his own in the most lowly and humble way possible; riding on a donkey.  And yet even though he comes in such humility look at what he will do.  He destroys the capacity fo do war and most importantly he proclaims peace.  Not just peace to they who live in Jerusalem, but from sea to sea and to the ends of the earth. 
     Christianity, in its truest form, teaches peace.  Yes there is the struggle with evil and with those who oppose Christ and his Church, and yet the individual believer can have peace.   Remember the words ‘ peace that passes understanding’?    
      What may have helped convert the unbeliever in the early church years was this peace, that those who were being killed for following the WAY or Christianity, projected as they were being led away to their deaths.    Many understood that there had to be something more than just a profession of the faith, there was this inner peace that could be seen on the faces of the condemned.    How many of us could do that today?
      In our New Testament reading from St. Mark we can find a number of Old Testament prophecies being fulfilled. Along with the aforementioned passage from Zechariah, there are also references to this event in Isaiah 62:11, Ps 118:26, Malachi 3:1.  These are just a few of the dozens of passages found in the Old Testament that either foreshadow or outright predict the coming of the Messiah.
     If we think back to the presentation of the Christ child at the temple, there were several senior citizens who knew, by the enlightening of the Holy Spirit, who this child was, Simeon and Anna.   Remember the prayer of John the baptizer’s father, Zacharias, “...blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people”, the prayer continues from Luke 2: 68-79.  
     Now let us see what the prophet David wrote about this coming King and Savior.
In our psalm today, the opening is describing the kingdom of the Lord.  
  What does this description entail?  The earth, the sea, the entirety of the earth, created by God, is His.   ‘It is his and he made it’.   ‘His hands prepared the dry lands...the sea is his and he made it...’     Do you see a common thread here?   This is God’s creation, this all belongs to Him.  
    The next several verses of this psalm describe both Christ and his followers; those who can approach God. Those who can ascend the hill of the Lord.  Christ the Lord can because it is his, we can because Christ died for our sins and gives us access to that holy hill.  What is on that holy hill ?  Blessings from the Lord and most importantly, the salvation of God for his people. 
   The last four verses can describe what was happening on that day so many years ago, when Christ entered the city of Jerusalem, on the back of a donkey, to the cries of Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. 
   Who is this King of glory?    THE LORD, STRONG AND MIGHTY.
   Who is this King of glory?    THE LORD OF HOSTS, HE IS THE KING OF GLORY!!!
   Without a doubt David is pointing down through the ages to that time when the King of glory would enter the city in triumph and yet this triumph was not the kind we as humans originally understood.   
    The real triumph was the next step in the overthrowing of Satan and his dominion.  Christ in His death, burial, and glorious resurrection was going to overthrow Satan, Death, and all that since Adam had separated us from the Father.   
    This is the Good News.  Christ came to claim his own.  Let us make sure we tell others that his sacrifice was for them.  This most sacred season of the church should not entail bunnies, chocolate, or colored eggs.  The true message of this time of the year is Christ came to save sinners.   Let us go and proclaim the truth of Easter.

Let us pray:

O God, who hast prepared for those who love Thee such good things as pass man’s understanding; Pour into our hearts such love toward Thee, that we, loving Thee above all things, may obtain Thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O God, who hast made all those that are born again in Christ to be a royal and priestly race; Grant us both the will and the power to do what Thou commandest; that all Thy people may have the same faith in their hearts, and the same piety in their actions; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Almighty and everlasting God, the Comfort of the sad, the Strength of sufferers, let the prayers of those that cry out of any tribulation come unto Thee; that all may rejoice to find that Thy mercy is present with them in their afflictions; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Lord bless us, and keep us. The Lord make His face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. The Lord lift up His countenance upon us, and give us peace, both now and evermore. Amen.


 

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