Bible Readings for March 25, 2018

This Sunday is Palm/Passion Sunday, and the readings reflect that emphasis. The Readings begin with the Processional Gospel, John 12:12-19. This is the evangelist John’s account of the Triumphant Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem the week before the crucifixion. Listen to the praise of the crowd as Jesus came into Jerusalem: Hosanna (originally the word “hosanna” meant “Lord save”), Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel. The people expected Jesus to come and drive out the Romans and establish a theocracy in Jerusalem. Notice that Jesus came into Jerusalem humbly, riding on a donkey, not on a powerful horse. He made a statement – His kingdom is not about worldly power, but about humble service; humble service that would take Him to the cross five days later.
People were in Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover, and would be there for several days. I wonder how many people who greeted Jesus with these words of praise on Palm Sunday stood in the crowd just a few days later calling for His crucifixion? We are horrified by that thought, yet how often do we praise Jesus with one breath, and then turn against Him in another? How often do we sing His praises, but later vileness issues forth from us?

The First Reading is recorded in Zechariah 9:9-12. The prophet Zechariah set the stage for Jesus’ Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem over 500 years before it happened. Notice how Zechariah’s prophecy foretold exactly what would happen. The Messiah (Jesus) would come into Jerusalem as a humble servant, yet as One Who rules throughout the earth. Through His death and resurrection Jesus is the victorious Lord of all, yet He rules in humble love, not in oppressive power.
Lord Jesus, King of kings and Lord of lords, we thank and praise You that by Your grace and mercy You have become Lord and Savior of us. Keep us firm in faith, rejoicing that You are the victorious Lord of all. Amen.

As you read the psalm for today, Psalm 118:19-29, keep in mind Jesus’ triumphal entrance into Jerusalem, and the praises the crowds gave to Him. Let us also be filled with rejoicing in Jesus Who has come to be our Lord and Savior!
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever! Amen.

The Second Reading, Philippians 2:5-11, is thought by many scholars to be an ancient hymn of the Church, one of the first hymns of the Church. I wish we had the music, it would be wonderful to sing this hymn as our ancestors in the faith did so long ago. Notice what this passage says about Jesus, what He gave up for our sake, what He endured to redeem us, and that because of His sacrifice and resurrection, overcoming sin, death, and the devil, He is given the Name above all names. Notice that all beings throughout the creation will fall on their knees and proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, to the glory of God the Father. As Christians, we too will be among those who proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, but as Christians we have the privilege of also proclaiming Him as Savior. Let us share the Gospel of Jesus with others so that they too will proclaim Him to be both Lord and Savior.
Holy Jesus, we bow the knee before You and join all of creation in proclaiming You as Lord, and we humbly and gratefully also proclaim You as Savior. Keep us in this faith, and empower us with Your Holy Spirit to proclaim You as Lord and Savior to others, and bring more and more people into Your kingdom. In Your Name we pray Jesus. Amen.

The Gospel for today is the Passion account of Jesus. It is a long Gospel, Mark 14:1 – 15:47. I would encourage all of us to read and meditate on this Gospel during this Holy Week.
Holy God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, draw us more and more into the contemplation of what You have done to redeem us. By Your grace, increase our awe of Your great love for us, and draw us closer to You in faith, hope, and love. Then send us out to witness to Your love and compassion for all in Jesus’ death and resurrection, and bring more and more people into Your gentle and glorious kingdom. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

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