Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Triumphal Entry

3.14.2015 Saturday of Lent 3                       Mark 11:1-19 The Triumphal Entry

Jesus enters Jerusalem 

At this point, a new section in the Gospel of Mark begins. Jesus arrives in Jerusalem and the rest of His ministry will take place within the confines of the Holy City of Jerusalem.

Nothing is left to chance as far as Jesus is concerned. Beginning with His triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem, Jesus’ Passion has begun. Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is a deliberate Messianic action – He offers Himself as the people’s Savior knowing that this will provoke the leaders of the ruling Council to take action against Him.

 And yet, the people praise Him. They shout, Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! This is a direct quote from Psalm 118:25. The people understand what they are saying. Their praises are a prayer – a prayer for the Lord to continue to save and sustain His people.

In Lent, the Alleluias are eliminated from our vocabulary.  Alleluia comes to us from Hebrew, and it means "praise Yahweh." Traditionally, it has been seen as the chief term of praise of the choirs of angels, as they worship around the throne of God in Heaven. It is a term of great joy, and our use of the Alleluia is a way of participating with the angels in worship.

It is also a reminder that the Kingdom of Heaven is already established on earth. Our participation in the Lord’s Supper is a participation in Heaven.

During Lent, our focus is on the Kingdom coming, not on the Kingdom having come.  Our focus is on the spiritual journey of Old Testament Israel toward the coming of Christ, and the salvation of mankind in Jesus’ death and resurrection.

We, too, are on a spiritual journey, toward the Second Coming of Jesus and our future life in Heaven. In order to emphasize that journey, the Church, during Lent, removes the Alleluia from worship. We no longer sing with the choirs of angels; instead, we acknowledge our sins. We focus on repentance. So that one day, we too, may again have the privilege of worshiping God as the angels do.

O God, you know us to be set in the midst of so many and great dangers, that by reason of the frailty of our nature we cannot always stand upright: Grant us such strength and protection as may support us in all dangers, and carry us through all temptations; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.[2]

[1] Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
[2] Collect for Saturday of Lent 3,

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