Behold, your King is coming to you . . . humble and mounted on a donkey
Our Lord enters in this humble fashion because He is entering Jerusalem to humble Himself even to the point of death on a cross (Phil. 2:5–11). His kingly crown will not be made of gold but of thorns, the sign of sin’s curse. For His royal reign is displayed in bearing this curse for His people, saving us from our enemies by sacrificing His own life. The sinless One takes the place of the sinner so that the sinner can be freed from the curse. It is at the name of this exalted Savior, Jesus, that we bow in humble faith. With the centurion who declared, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Mt. 27:54), we are also given to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:11).
Collect for Palm Sunday: Almighty and everlasting God, You sent Your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, to take upon Himself our flesh and to suffer death upon the cross. Mercifully grant that we may follow the example of His great humility and patience and be made partakers of His resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Collect for Ash Wednesday (prayed after the Collect for the Day throughout Lent): Almighty and everlasting God, You despise nothing You have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent. Create in us new and contrite hearts that lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness we may receive from You full pardon and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns . . .
Prayer for blessing on the Word: Lord Jesus Christ, giver and perfecter of our faith, we thank and praise You for continuing among us the preaching of Your Gospel for our instruction and edification. Send Your blessing upon the Word, which has been spoken to us, and by Your Holy Spirit increase our saving knowledge of You, that day by day we may be strengthened in the divine truth and remain steadfast in Your grace. Give us strength to fight the good fight and by faith to overcome all the temptations of Satan, the flesh, and the world so that we may finally receive the salvation of our souls; for You live and reign . . .
Prayer of praise and supplication: Lord God, creator of heaven and earth, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we praise You for the abundant mercy that You this day so richly have provided for us, blessing us not only with daily bread for our bodies but also with heavenly food for our souls. Grant that Your living and powerful Word may abide in our hearts, working mightily in us to Your glory and for our salvation. We commit ourselves to Your divine protection and fatherly care. Let Your holy angels be with us that the evil foe may have no power over us. Look in mercy on Your Church and deliver it from all danger and adversities. By Your Holy Spirit comfort and strengthen all who are in affliction or distress, and grant Your abiding peace to us all; through Jesus Christ, our Savior, who lives and reigns . . .
Monday, 11 April 2011—Psalm 24:7–10; Antiphon, Psalm 118:26—It is possible that this psalm of David was written for the occasion of the return of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6). It instructs the children of Israel in the right worship of God. The portion used for Sunday’s Introit was sung by the worshippers as they approached the holy city and waited for the gates to be opened. It is sung by us as we commemorate the entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and look forward to His salvific work on Good Friday.
Tuesday, 12 April 2011—Psalm 118:19–29—Psalm 118 is the last of the six ‘Hallel’ psalms, sung by the faithful on the occasions of the great festivals of Israel, such as Passover. This one was sung after the Passover meal, and was probably the hymn mentioned that Jesus and His disciples sang before He went out to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane and to meet His betrayer (Matthew 26:30). The song that was sung on the occasion of Jesus’ entrance on Palm Sunday was based on verses 25–26 (‘Hosanna’ means ‘Save us, we pray.’) We sing it in the Sanctus just before the Lord comes to us in the holy Supper, bringing the forgiveness of sins.
Wednesday, 13 April 2011—Zechariah 9:9–10—Writing approximately 500 years before the birth of our Savior, Zechariah proclaims that the kingdom of God will come to us as the King assumes flesh and enters human history. He will do away with all instruments of war (chariots, war horses, and battle bows) and will speak peace to the nations. This prophecy is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the King of Peace, who entered into Jerusalem amid shouts of acclaim in order to die amid shouts of ‘Crucify Him’ and then to rise again, the angels proclaiming, ‘He is not here. He is risen!’
Thursday, 14 April 2011—Philippians 2:5–11—St Paul here eloquently speaks of both the humiliation and the exaltation of Christ. The eternal Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, humbled Himself and assumed human flesh. This is the reason we bow at the words and became man in the Nicene Creed. But He was glorified by His Father when He died for our sins upon the cross, bearing the sins of mankind in His flesh. Having accomplished our salvation, He resumes His place at the right hand of His Father, being worthy of adoration by all creation.
Friday, 15 April 2011—Matthew 21:1–9—Jesus came to Jerusalem for two reasons: to celebrate the Passover, in fulfillment of the Law; and then to die a criminal’s death as an atonement for the sins of the world. Those who greeted Him with shouts of ‘Hosanna’ were looking forward to a Messiah who would save them from the hand of their earthly enemies. But Jesus came to save all people from more fearsome spiritual enemies: sin, death, and everlasting condemnation. He is called the Son of David, a messianic title, and acclaimed as coming in the name of the Lord. He is the Lord Himself, the Word of God incarnate, the only one who could rescue us from spiritual darkness and death.
Saturday, 16 April 2011—Sunday’s hymn of the day, No Tramp of Soldiers’ Marching Feet (LSB #444), is a newer hymn, married to a traditional English tune. It tells of Jesus coming in humility, not with great military or political fanfare, coming for the sake of us mortals, to bear the cross and all its pains. In response, we, the ransomed host, proclaim, Behold, your King!”
Artwork by Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, © WELS.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.
This week's Time in the Word is written by Pr. Jeffrey Keuning who serves St. John, and Zion congregations in Dexter and Casey, IA