Palm Sunday A


58: April 13, 2014

214: April 9, 2017

 

Psalm 118 Richard Bruxvoort Colligan

Featured Musician - Red Molly, “Homeward Bound” from the album The Red Album.


Exegetical Notes

Matthew 21:1-11 Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem

Initial Thoughts

  • How does Jesus ride two donkeys?
    • Biblical Literalism at its best
  • Clear political statement

Bible Study

  • Quoted passage
    • proof texting or capturing the messianic fervor?
    • Not two donkeys
    • Isaiah 62:11b
    • Zechariah 9:9
      • Messianic age of peace
      • God will overthrow the oppressive nations
      • All will dwell in peace
  • Hosanna
    • literally means, “Save us”
    • Saved from what?
    • Saved for what?
    • We must be able to answer these questions or at least explore them if we hope to speak about Jesus
    • Was it wrong for the people to want to be saved from Roman oppression?
      • don’t we hope to be saved from oppression- economic, political, social, etc.
      • Does Jesus care about Rome or about each person in community?
    • We join the crowds shouting, “Save us” but do we want to be saved from without (from poverty, oppression, etc) or saved from within (self delusion, jealousy, greed, victimhood, power and control seeking, fear)?
  • Donkey and procession
    • Parody of a conqueror entering the city in a display of power
    • How does Jesus show his power? (James O’Duke,  Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary - Feasting on the Word – Year A, Volume 2: Lent through Eastertide.)
      • “Lordship, indeed even messianic lordship, is here defined in terms of servanthood. Gentleness, humility, peaceableness, mercy, and self-giving acts of generosity and compassion are marks of God's domain.”
      • Jesus is not aligned with any political party- then or NOW
        • Jesus is not a republican or a democrat (or an American for that matter)
        • Jesus is challenging the political and social state of the world
    • Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan, The Last Week
      • Two Processions: Pilate from Jaffa Gate and Jesus from Galilee
      • Kingdom of God vs Empire of Rome
      • The stage is set for the week
  • Crowds
    • Palm Sunday is often focused only on Jesus, but it is a very communal event
    • Disciples get the donkey
    • Donkey is donated
    • Crowds chant and gather
    • Crowds proclaim who Jesus is...kind of
      • prophet from Nazareth in Galilee (not the Son of God)
    • Veronice Miles, Feasting on the Word: Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary - Feasting on the Word – Year A, Volume 2: Lent through Eastertide: “For peace and reconciliation become possible when common folk with uncommon courage oppose exclusionary practices and policies and together stand with "the one who comes in the name of the Lord" (v. 9). History is replete with the stories of common folk who have recognized that we are able to accomplish more together than we can alone; stories that we might reclaim and rehearse as we continue our Lenten journey. They include the women and men who provided safe passage on the Underground Railroad for persons seeking freedom from chattel slavery in the United States in the mid-nineteenth century. Remember also Dietrich Bonhoeffer and others in the Confessing Church in the 1930s, who took a definitive stance that their loyalty was to Jesus as Lord, not to Hitler and the Nazis. Youths in South Africa stood against apartheid and formed the African National Congress Youth League in 1944 under the leadership of Nelson Mandela, envisioning a world in which racial domination would no longer exist.”

  • Systematic theology explosion
    • Soteriology - save us!
    • Christology - the power(less) of Jesus
    • Eschatology - the beginning of the end
      • v.10 the whole city is in turmoil (or trembling) similar to the earthquakes at Jesus’ death - pre-tremors or what is to come
    • Ecclesiology? - the crowds?

Preaching Thoughts

  • We must be able to answer these questions or at least explore them if we hope to speak about Jesus
  • Was it wrong for the people to want to be saved from Roman oppression?
    • Don’t we hope to be saved from oppression- economic, political, social, etc.
    • Does Jesus care about Rome or about each person in community?
  • We join the crowds shouting, “Save us” but do we want to be saved from without (from poverty, oppression, etc) or saved from within (self delusion, jealousy, greed, victimhood, power and control seeking, fear)?
  • Jesus did not align himself with any religious or political party or group...would Jesus align himself with the church? 

Psalm 118 - Enter the Gates

Initial thoughts

  • Psalm Song - "Into Your Hands" by Richard Bruxvoort Colligan
  • Lectionary selection for both Palm Sunday and Easter for all three years, though the selected verses overlap.  
    • Both weeks read the intro v 1-2: “Give thanks to the LORD because he is good, because his faithful love lasts forever. Let Israel say it: "God's faithful love lasts forever!" (CEB)
    • v 24-29 overlap
      • “This is the day the LORD acted; we will rejoice and celebrate in it! LORD, please save us! LORD, please let us succeed! The one who enters in the LORD's name is blessed; we bless all of you from the LORD's house. The LORD is God! He has shined a light on us! So lead the festival offering with ropes all the way to the horns of the altar. You are my God—I will give thanks to you! You are my God—I will lift you up high! Give thanks to the LORD b ecause he is good, because his faithful love lasts forever.”

Bible Study

  • Psalm 118’s place in Ancient Hebrew worship is debated.  One theory is that this was a Psalm that “celebrated the reenthronement of the Davidic monarch” (James Newsome on p 232 of Texts for Preaching, Year A).
    • Fits Palm Sunday as an enthronement psalm, when Jesus is acting as a new kind of King in his triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
  • End of what Clint McCann calls the Hallel collection (113-118) which came to be used at Passover.
    • Can also be seen in context of Israel’s return from exile.  It’s use is versatile, as thanksgiving, victory.
  • Tone and emotions of the Psalm are all over the place.  Lots of praise, also distress, so the lection tries to cut it up to make it fit Palm Sunday and Easter.
  • “A psalm of thanksgiving sung by one who has been to the edge of the abyss and who has been delivered by God” (James Newsome on p 231 of Texts for Preaching, Year A).
  • Non Palm Sunday section
    • v 1-4 Call to Worship - Let all say “God’s steadfast love endures forever”
    • v 5-13 I was in distress, but God saved.
    • v 14-18 God is victorious
      • salvation, victory, valiant, strength
  • v 19-24 Procession
    • In midst of procession is reminder of the failure that preceded this celebration
      • v. 22 - The stone that was rejected has become the cornerstone.
    • The people have come to celebrate, but it is the Lord that is taking action
      • v. 24 This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad.
      • This is the proper order - Acknowledge God’s action, then rejoice.
  • v 25-29 Call for salvation and thanksgiving
    • Ending verse mirrors the opening
      • 118:29 “Give thanks to the LORD because he is good, because his faithful love lasts forever”

Preaching Thoughts and Questions

  • Pattern of praise and petition affirm God’s sovereignty.  More realistic as a whole psalm, instead of chopping it up.  Isn’t most of life full of both praise and petition?
  • Powerful as communal prayer and individual promise.  Martin Luther called it “My own beloved psalm.” (Clint McCann, New Interpreter’s Bible, v. IV, p. 1156).

Holy Week Thoughts

See more Holy Week Resources Here!

  • Go with Lectionary or stick to one Gospel per year?

  • Lectionary is John every year

    • Thur - John 13:1-17, 31b-35

    • Fri - John 18:1-19:42

  • Since it is “Matthew Year”

    • Thur - Matthew 26:1-75

      • Judas betrays Jesus

      • Woman anoints Jesus (all the disciples in denial, this woman gets it)

      • Last Supper - with Judas in attendance

      • Prediction and Denial from Peter

        • Peter cursed Jesus

      • Jesus in prayer

      • Arrest at night

        • Jesus claims he could bring 12 Legions (while Pilate probable had 1 at his disposal) but doesn’t

      • Jesus before council

    • Fri - Matthew 27:1-61

      • Trial before Pilate

        • Choosing of Jesus Barabbas over Jesus the Christ

        • Reluctant Pilate (and historical trouble this caused)

      • Mocking of Jesus

      • Crucifixion (with more insults)

      • Death

        • “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?”

        • Women at the cross

      • Burial

Maundy Thursday

Good Friday

  • In one tweet answer: “What is good about it?”

  • Tell the story - Don’t Gloss it over

  • Crucifixion - historical

    • Cross probably not more than ten feet high

    • Jesus completely naked, exposed along a busy road

    • Feet probably not together on the bottom of the cross, but spread on each side.

    • Resource about crucifixions in history: Stuff You Missed in History Podcast

    • Leave it uncomfortable and open ended

  • Crucifixion – part of life, not a historical execution

    • We experience crucifixion, pain, death, agony

  • Earthquake- recalls “Jerusalem in Turmoil” from Palm Sunday

  • Seven Last Words

    • Luke 23:34:      Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.

    • Luke 23:43:      Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.

    • John 19:26-27: Woman, behold your son. Behold your mother.

    • Matthew 27:46:   My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?

    • John 19:28:       I am thirsty.

    • Luke 23:46:      Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.

    • John 19:30:       It is... finished.

  • Jesus Barabbas or Jesus Christ.

    • Do we want Jesus, son of the father, a more human and perhaps understandable Jesus or Jesus the Christ the Messiah, the Savior - which says that we need to be saved.

    • Jesus the Messiah is not an ethical teacher, but a savior from God

  • Liturgy

  • https://www.illustratedchildrensministry.com/

 


Thank you listeners and get in touch:

Thanks to our Psalms correspondent, Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (psalmimmersion.com,@pomopsalmist). Thank you to Scott Fletcher for our voice bumpers, Dick Dale and the Del Tones for our Theme music (“Misirlou”), Nicolai Heidlas (“Sunday Morning”,"Real Ride"and“Summertime”) and The Steel Wheels for our transition music(“Nola’s First Dance” from their album Lay Down, Lay Low) and Paul and Storm for our closing music (“Oh No”).