What: Palm Sunday (aka Passion Sunday)
When: Sunday, April 14, 2019
Themes: expectant joy at the coming King; sober recognition of the King's coming rejection
Palm Sunday is the day that Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem as a King. It also was the beginning of the last week of Jesus' earthly life. So there are two aspects to our observation of this holy day: joy and sobriety.
Jesus intentionally chooses to ride into the city on a colt that had never been ridden. Why would he do that? To point to an ancient promise:
"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey." - Zechariah 9:9
Jesus knew what he was doing, and he knew what he was symbolizing when he rode in on a colt. He was sending this message to the beleaguered Jewish people: your King has returned! Rejoice! And boy, did they get the message. Look at how they responded:
"And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. 9 And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, 'Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!'” - Mark 11:8-10
Palm Sunday is a time to revel in fulfilled promises: your king has come!
Jesus' entrance certainly was filled with great joy and celebration, but it also sounded his death knell. Think about it: Jerusalem was under the authority of Caesar, yet the inhabitants are proclaiming Jesus as king. Do you think Caesar would stand for dual kingship? No, Jesus' claims would have to be dealt with. But the real sobriety comes in understanding that it was from his own people that his demise would come.
Palm Sunday is a time to be sobered by the rejection of King of kings, and our hand in that rejection.
Join us at Sojourn on Sunday, April 14, as the events and themes of Palm Sunday are woven into our gathered worship. If you’re looking to prepare a bit, you can do two things: Read through Mark 4:1-20 (Pastor Matt will be preaching on this passage) and listen to a song called “Is He Worthy” (we’ll be singing this song together). As we gather on Sunday to do gospel representation, our prayer is that we’ll be filled with joy, sobriety, and anticipation as we look towards the end of the week, where we see our King triumph over it all.