Preaching Easter

Jesus, resurrectionEaster is coming up. The last Sunday in March (there are five this year) is Palm Sunday and the first Sunday in April is Easter. The dates are March 29th and April 5th. Those of you that observed Ash Wednesday and/or the season of Lent are aware of these dates already, as well as anyone planning church activities and worship services. And it is those individuals – pastors, preachers, minsters and directors of music, all worship leaders – that I wish to address.

I spent several years in a ministry that included a daily chapel service. Not only did we observe Palm Sunday and Easter but we had the opportunity to celebrate each day of Holy Week. We could talk about the Triumphal Entry on Sunday and focus on the different aspects of Jesus’ final teachings with the Apostles each day that week. We could give a full day to the Last Supper, another to the arrest and false trial, and spend Good Friday detailing the events of the crucifixion. With all of that said and done the focus of Easter Sunday was entirely on celebrating the resurrection. Continue reading

Palm Sunday

HosannaHosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Today is Palm Sunday. This day on the Christian calendar we celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and the beginning of Holy Week. Please refer to this post from 2010 as I just don’t think I can do any better. Perhaps this week I can write some new things as we prepare for Easter.

 

Real Victory

The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”
-John 12:12-13

On Palm Sunday we celebrate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem for the last time. All four Gospels record what is known as the triumphal entry. By the end of the week the crowd had turned, and those shouting “Hosanna” would shout “crucify him.” The triumphal entry appeared to be Jesus’ finest hour and the crucifixion appeared to be his greatest defeat.  Things are not always as they appear. Christians recognize that Jesus’ most important work was done on the cross, as he humbly submitted to the will of the Father. Continue reading

Palm Sunday: the Triumphal Entry

Reblogged from March 28, 2010

Several well known statements are found in Psalm 118:1-25: “His steadfast love endures forever,” “this is the day the LORD hath made,” “the stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and even others still.  Verse 25 reads “Save us, we pray, O LORD” in the ESV; “O LORD. we beseech thee, save us now!” in the King James.  The Hebrew word rendered in English as save now is hosanna. Continue reading

The Appearance of Victory

It looked like Jesus’ finest hour when he entered Jerusalem.  Our Palm Sunday service, also called Passion Sunday by some, is a celebration of Jesus’ triumphal entry.  The crowd shouted “Hosanna” and also “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.”  Hosanna means either save us now or more simply save now.  They waved palm branches, a symbol of victory, and spread coats on his path.  Many expected Jesus to claim the throne, and some had even tried to take him by force and place him there.  The Jewish leaders didn’t like it, but they feared the crowd more than God.  Jesus certainly looked victorious on that day.

By the end of the week, the same crowd was shouting “Crucify him.”   Followers of Jesus were hard to find by Friday afternoon.  Good Friday seemed to be Jesus’ ultimate demise, the polar opposite of just a few days earlier.  The chief priests and Pharisees must have thought the Jesus movement was over for sure as the few friends he had left put him in the tomb.  Of course we know that Easter (Resurrection Sunday) and the day of Pentecost are coming soon, but Palm Sunday appears to be a great day of victory while the cross looks like defeat.

Try to keep these things in mind.  The world often has their winning and losing backwards.  When missionaries are persecuted, when pastors are arrested for reading the Bible in public places, when states approve gay marriage, or abortion rights are expanded: don’t be too quick to accept defeat.  The same is true for events that we may perceive as victories.  Political leaders and court systems of the modern world have no more real power than they did in the first century.  The same Jesus that ascended in Acts 1 will return the same way.  He will not be a helpless baby at his second coming.  Despite appearances, the real victory was over death, hell and the grave.

“Sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.”  Psalm 30:5

Holy Week Review

Palm Sunday is on April 1 this year, Easter will be April 8.  That final week of Lent is referred to as Holy Week, and should be a special time in the lives of believers.  Here are some Holy Week posts from years past; they may not be new, but are still good.

The “Triumphal” Entry is about Palm Sunday, the first day of Holy Week.  The same Jews shouting Hosanna at the beginning of the week will be shouting Crucify him by the end of the week.

Who Framed Jesus? was a documentary shown by Discovery 2 years ago, but the same thing happens on t.v. and magazine covers every year.  This post generated a frenzy of comments that are also a blast to read.

The Last Supper is about Jesus’ final Passover and the beginning of communion.  And on the same night he washed the disciples’ feet.

Is Jesus the Sheep, or the Shepherd?  This rather short post is one of the most read ever on The Master’s Table.

The Resurrection is the most celebrated event in Christianity, but here’s a thought: Jesus Died.  Jesus is God; have you ever thought that all the way through?

He Cannot Save Himself, the original post and He Cannot Save Himself, a poem for Good Friday.

It’s Friday, Sunday’s Coming  Sermon by S.M. Lockridge, with scenes from The Passion

And finally The Importance of the Resurrection.

The “Triumphal” Entry

Several well known statements are found in Psalm 118:1-25: “His steadfast love endures forever,” “this is the day the LORD hath made,” “the stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and even others still.  Verse 25 reads “Save us, we pray, O LORD” in the ESV; “O LORD. we beseech thee, save us now!” in the King James.  The Hebrew word rendered in English as save now is hosanna.

All four Gospels tell the story of Jesus’s triumphal entry.  Palm Sunday is our celebration of Jesus entering Jerusalem for the last time to observe Passover with his disciples. Continue reading

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday.  Easter will be in 46 days.  I wrote a decent post last year (not my best ever) titled Ash Wednesday, Lent, and p.s. Mardi Gras.  It’s sort of a Christian Calendar for Dummies.  I’m satisfied to link that for now, and will have some new stuff up before Holy Week.

Palm Sunday: Jesus’ Triumphal Entry

palm_sunday_UPDATE: this entry is from 2009.  A newer post, with much more information, is this one from 2010.

Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week.  The triumphal entry of Jesus was to be the last time he went up to Jerusalem.  He and his desciples were coming into the city to celebrate Passover.  Thousands of Jews from around Aisa Minor, Africa and Europe were doing the same.  Throughout his ministry, some listeners (among them the Zealots) expected Jesus to claim his throne on earth.  Their idea of Messiah was a military leader, and Jesus was on the scene at the right time if he was going to throw the Romans out of Israel.  Many Jews could hear Messianic things in what Jesus said, and here he was riding into Jerusalem.  The crowd shouted “Hosanna,” and spread palm branches and even their coats along the highway.  Hosanna is sort of like our hallelujah, but literally means save now.   Jesus seemed poised to ride ahead into his greatest victory.

As we move into Holy Week, try to imagine the horror of these first century observers as Jesus was arrested and tried.  What many followers witnessed, including his own 12 apsoltles, was a dramatic turnaround from first to last place.  Some of the same Jews who shouted “Hosanna” would be shouting “Crucify him” by the end of the week.  This is that week.