Sunday, April 6, 2014

Time in the Word - Palm Sunday

Time in the Word
God’s Suffering Servant
A Study for Palm Sunday
April 7-12, 2014

The Passion of the Christ is quite evident in the Lessons for this week. The Gospel consists of the story of Jesus’ suffering and death. The Old Testament lesson speaks of suffering in terms of disgrace. The Epistle lesson refers to Jesus’ humiliation as a suffering servant to the point of death. The Prayer of the Day mentions Jesus’ coming “to suffer death on the cross.”  The Psalm of the Day reminds us of Jesus’ words from the cross. 

The cross was no accident. Throughout the Passion history there is reflected again and again that all of this was in fulfillment of the Scriptures. The suffering of the Christ was according to a divine plan for a divine purpose – the redemption and salvation of the world.

Developing the season of Lent – The 40 days of Lent came into being as a result of a long period of development. Originally, in the 1st Century, Lent was a period of forty hours in keeping with the forty hours Jesus’ body was in the tomb. Later, during the 3rd Century the forty hours grew into six days. The six days were not the last week in Lent but an extension of the forty hours. These six days were known as Holy Week. 

Holy Week observance began in Jerusalem during the 4th Century. Services were held on the appropriate day at the places where special events took place during the last week of Jesus’ life: The Upper Room, Gethsemane, Pilate’s Court. The six days grew into thirty-six days, as a tithe of the 365 days of the year. By 731 four days were added to the thirty-six to make the present season of forty days. The four days consisted of Ash Wednesday to the first Sunday in Lent.

Prayer for Palm SundayAlmighty 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.

Monday, April 7, 2014 – Psalm 31 - The Antiphon for this coming week’s Introit is taken from verse 31, Into Your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O lord, the God of truth. This Psalm is a prayer of deliverance when confronted by conspiracy so powerful and open that all David’s friends abandoned him. Where do we go when we feel as if we haven’t a friend? We go to Jesus, our friend and confidante our Savior and our Redeemer.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 – Isaiah 50:4-9a - In the Old Testament lesson God’s servant suffers willingly because of his trust in God. God’s servant faces suffering confident of God’s help.  The suffering of the Messiah was not only physical but mental and emotional. This may be a worse form of hurt – hurt feelings. The Servant as a faithful follower of God endures shameful treatment. His enemies pull out his beard and spit in His face. Jesus endures this form of suffering: the soldiers dressed him as a king, the superscription above His head, crucified between two criminals, exposed naked before a crowd, taunted and mocked: “If you are the Son of God…” 
Wednesday, April 9, 2014 – Philippians 2:5-11 - In our Epistle lesson we learn that as an obedient servant Jesus humbles Himself to die on a cross. As He humbles Himself even to death God exalts Him.  Because Jesus came down to the humiliation of the cross, Jesus was raised in exaltation. There are two sides of a coin. Jesus taught that He who humbles himself will be exalted, and the reverse also applies. During Holy Week we watch Jesus stooping to the lowest level by dying a criminal’s most horrible death and on Easter He is raised to glory. His exaltation will not be complete until every knee shall bow and every tongue confesses Him as Lord.   

Thursday, April 10, 2014 – John 12:20-43 – In the Gospel lesson Jesus suffers the death of the cross as wee view the history of Jesus’ passion. The cross of Christ produces a response. It is not an ordinary death which might cause only sympathy. There is a positive response by those with at least neutral eyes as expressed by a professional soldier, “Truly this was the Son of God.”

Friday, April 11, 2014 – Psalm 118:19-28 The Psalm appointed for this coming Sunday. This section seems to be the answer and a great thanksgiving song which echoes the “Give thanks” of verse 1, the “answered …me” of verse 5 and the testimony of verse 14.   

Saturday, April 12, 2014 – Matthew 21:16 – This verse is the inspiration for the hymn, “All Glory Laud and Honor” {LSB #442} This verse is a quotation from Psalm 8. Infants and children give thanks and praise to the Savior. As Palm Sunday looms a host of Old Testament scriptures will be fulfilled by Jesus’ Passion.  Christ is the fulfillment of all Old Testament prophecy. He is the center of the book of books, the Bible. 

THE LUTHERAN HYMNAL © 1940 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO

LUTHERAN WORSHIP © 1982 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO

LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK LECTIONARY © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO

LECTIONARY PREACHING WORKBOOK A – John Brokhoff © 1980 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH 

Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use

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