Readings: Lectionary Year C, Palm Sunday
Liturgy of the Palms:
Luke 19:28-40 Jesus arrives at Jerusalem as Messiah, fulfilling prophecy.
Liturgy of the Passion:
Isaiah 50:4-9a God’s servant, though insulted, is faithful, and not disgraced.
Philippians 2:5-11 Jesus, after his supreme humility is supremely glorified.
Luke 22:14-23:56 The full story of Jesus’ final hours.
Jesus enters Jerusalem. From the east window at Soham by Clayton & Bell
This depiction just hints at the excited crowds, and as a static image, it can’t convey the noise. Knowing what was ahead of him, does this cheerful Jesus (and donkey) seem likely? How would we be feeling in Jesus’ circumstances?
Some thoughts on the readings
– Jesus’ mode of arrival in Jerusalem, in fulfilment of Zechariah 9:9, was not spontaneous. He knew people in Bethany, including Martha, Mary & Lazarus, so had presumably arranged the donkey in advance.
– Seen in isolation, it’s easy to forget that the “Philippians reading” is from a letter, written to a group of people whom Paul knew and loved. It is set in a passage about living together in harmony, with love and compassion. It’s even more moving when we recall that Paul himself was writing from prison.
– Try reading the entire Passion narrative in one go. We so often hear short extracts, but immersing ourselves in the story brings it home more powerfully.
Suggestions for further Bible reading
Isaiah 42:1-4, 49:1-6, 52:13-53:12 The other three ‘servant songs’ are worth reading in Holy Week to reflect on their fulfilment in Jesus’ life and ministry.
Psalm 118 In Luke 19:38, the crowd are ‘quoting’ this psalm, which is a celebration of God’s victory over Israel’s enemies.
Esther 4:9-16 Esther agrees to place herself in mortal danger for the possibility of saving the Jews from the plot to exterminate them.
Acts 3:1-10 The “name of Jesus” brings healing to a paralysed man.
What other Bible passages come to mind when you read today’s readings?
Points for Prayer
• Give thanks for the freedom we enjoy to celebrate Easter, and for the faithful witness of so many who do not have that freedom.
• Pray for the staff of all our village schools – that they would get time for proper rest and recreation before the long summer term to come.
• Pray that Easter will spark the desire to come to church, even in people who don’t normally. Pray that they will hear and receive the Gospel.
Points for Action
• If you haven’t yet bought your Easter eggs, consider buying the Real Easter Egg from meaningfulchocolate.co.uk (available online or in supermarkets).
• Beyond Easter, think about how you & your church will be supporting the Thy Kingdom Come prayer week: http://www.thykingdomcome.global/ .