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

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.