Sunday message: On the colt of a donkey

Palm/Passion Sunday, April 5, 2020

Greeting: The Lord be with you.

People: And also with you.

Announcements

Prayer

God who stills the waters and quiets the storm, God who lets not a hair of our heads fall without your knowledge, God who brings sight to the blind and words to quieted tongues, God who created the earth and all that is in it, God who teaches the foolish and strengthens the wise, God who promises a coming day when there will be no more mourning or crying or pain, when death will pass away, when all things will be made new: Bring healing to our world, to our neighbours, and to us. Bring wisdom so we may honour you and bring glory to you in these days of plague. Bring strength so we may rejoice in your love. Bring patience that is grounded in actively living in your ways. Bring hope that is rooted in your good news of shalom. Bring grace and calm to us so we may bring grace and calm to others.
We now say:
L: Blessed is He who comes
   in the name of the Lord!
P: Hosanna in the highest!
L: Lift up your hearts!
P: We lift them up to the Lord! Amen

Entry into Jerusalem: from Matthew 21

So God’s promise came true, just as the prophet had said, “Announce to the people of Jerusalem: ‘Your king is coming to you! He is humble and rides on a donkey. He comes on the colt of a donkey.’” The disciples left and did what Jesus had told them to do.They brought the donkey and its colt and laid some clothes on their backs. Then Jesus got on. Many people spread clothes in the road, while others put down branches[a] which they had cut from trees. Some people walked ahead of Jesus and others followed behind. They were all shouting, “Hooray[b] for the Son of David![c] God bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hooray for God in heaven above!” 10 When Jesus came to Jerusalem, everyone in the city was excited and asked, “Who can this be?” 11 The crowd answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Song: (Hosanna): https://youtu.be/wsKLXFlhk7s

In the upper room: from Matthew 26; from John 13

Jesus told them to go to a certain man in the city and tell him, “Our teacher says, ‘My time has come! I want to eat the Passover meal with my disciples in your home.’ “ 

19 They did as Jesus told them and prepared the meal.

26 During the meal Jesus took some bread in his hands. He blessed the bread and broke it. Then he gave it to his disciples and said, “Take this and eat it. This is my body.”

27 Jesus picked up a cup of wine and gave thanks to God. He then gave it to his disciples and said, “Take this and drink it. 28 This is my blood, and with it God makes his agreement with you. It will be poured out, so that many people will have their sins forgiven. 29 From now on I am not going to drink any wine, until I drink new wine with you in my Father’s kingdom.” 

Jesus knew that he had come from God and would go back to God. He also knew that the Father had given him complete power. So during the meal Jesus got up, removed his outer garment, and wrapped a towel around his waist. He put some water into a large bowl. Then he began washing his disciples’ feet and drying them with the towel he was wearing.

10 Jesus answered, “People who have bathed and are clean all over need to wash just their feet. And you, my disciples, are clean, except for one of you.” 11 Jesus knew who would betray him. That is why he said, “except for one of you.” 12 After Jesus had washed his disciples’ feet and had put his outer garment back on, he sat down again.[b] Then he said: Do you understand what I have done? 13 You call me your teacher and Lord, and you should, because that is who I am. 14 And if your Lord and teacher has washed your feet, you should do the same for each other. 30 Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.

Song: In Christ Alone: https://youtu.be/qLy8ksqGf9w

In the garden: from Matthew 26

36 Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane. When they got there, he told them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 Jesus took along Peter and the two brothers, James and John.[d] He was very sad and troubled, 38 and he said to them, “I am so sad that I feel as if I am dying. Stay here and keep awake with me.”39 Jesus walked on a little way. Then he knelt with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, don’t make me suffer by having me drink from this cup.[e] But do what you want, and not what I want.”

45 Finally, Jesus returned to his disciples and said, “Are you still sleeping and resting?[f] The time has come for the Son of Man to be handed over to sinners. 46 Get up! Let’s go. The one who will betray me is already here.” 47 Jesus was still speaking, when Judas the betrayer came up.

 He was one of the twelve disciples, and a large mob armed with swords and clubs was with him. They had been sent by the chief priests and the nation’s leaders. 48 Judas had told them ahead of time, “Arrest the man I greet with a kiss.”[g 49 Judas walked right up to Jesus and said, “Hello, teacher.” Then Judas kissed him. 50 Jesus replied, “My friend, why are you here?”[h]

The men grabbed Jesus and arrested him.

Song: Power of the Cross: https://youtu.be/ubGCISQQ7Zo 

Crucifixion: from Matthew 27

22 Pilate asked them, “What am I to do with Jesus, who is called the Messiah?” They all yelled, “Nail him to a cross!”23 Pilate answered, “But what crime has he done?” “Nail him to a cross!” they yelled even louder. Then he ordered his soldiers to beat Jesus with a whip and nail him to a cross.

35 The soldiers nailed Jesus to a cross and gambled to see who would get his clothes. 36 Then they sat down to guard him. 37 Above his head they put a sign that told why he was nailed there. It read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”

45 At noon the sky turned dark and stayed that way until three o’clock. 46 Then about that time Jesus shouted, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”[g] which means, “My God, my God, why have you deserted me?”

Message

“On the colt of a donkey”

(Matthew 21:1-11)

 Looking at the scene that unfolded when Jesus was entering Jerusalem there is something that stands out. On that first Palm Sunday, that which stands out is the means by which Jesus enters the holy city of Jerusalem. Jesus was to enter the city riding on the back of the colt of a donkey.

The Christian church celebrates it on the first Sunday of Holy Week, the week that we are entering right now, seven days before Easter.

The excitement can be sensed throughout the event.

However, there’s a “but” to it all. Jesus, anyone in his time would have expected, should be coming along, saving the world by riding on a war-horse, ready to fix everything that’s wrong in front of Him.

But, “no.” Jesus is entering on the colt of a donkey, not on a war-horse. Jesus has a distinct message to convey. It is one of humility, one of no power, at least no military power and no influence as the world would expect it to be.

The people were waving palm branches. They were heralding Him in at their very best! Branches were cut, normally we would say palm leaves were taken and waved to salute the one who is to be celebrated.

It stands out very starkly. Jesus, the one to save Israel, is the one who is demonstrating that He isn’t about worldly power. He isn’t the imperialist who is going to prove that the world is going to be changed in a powerful way.

Is this the spirit that we notice during the pandemic? There is no superpower work that is done. It is merely loving and caring treatment in hospitals, clinics, care homes or private homes that happens.

There are no ways to wield power when fighting a virus.

In the days of Jesus, the virus of wanting to make profit out of selling animals in the temple was rampant. Today, a virus of potential life-threatening illness is rampant and the whole world is in its grip.

Jesus showed that there was an alternative. There was the alternative of a humble entry into the holy city. The selfless humility of Jesus still shows to be the way of life. Let us celebrate, with the waving of our palms, the arrival of our Lord Jesus on the colt of a donkey.

 Song: (Hosanna) reprise: https://youtu.be/wsKLXFlhk7s

 Our time for giving:

Today we are reminded that Christ offered his life on the Cross for our sakes. Now it’s our turn to offer God our gifts in gratitude. Let us present to God our tithes and offerings.

Offertory prayer

Gracious God, when we look at what you have done for us in Jesus Christ, our offering seems so small. What difference can our gifts make in the grand scheme of things? Yet the story of Jesus tells us otherwise: five loaves and two fish can feed a multitude; a man who dies on a cross becomes Living Bread for a hungry world. Accept our small gifts and bless them with your goodness so that the miracle of Jesus’ love continues to amaze the world. Amen.

Blessing

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. Amen


Copyright 2020 – Heinrich Grosskopf, Minister of Dayspring Presbyterian Church

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