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BETHLEHEM LUTHERAN CHURCH: | Mason City, Iowa USA | Pastor Mark Lavrenz

Apr 9, 2017  SERMON ARCHIVE

Sunday Sermon - Pastor Lavrenz Stained Glass - Communion

"Rejoice greatly, O Zion. Shout aloud, O Daughter of Jerusalem! Lo, your King comes to you; triumphant and victorious is He, humble and riding on an donkey, on a colt the foal of an donkey."

As is the tradition here at Bethlehem on Palm Sunday, the children will parade into the Holy Place at the beginning of the late Divine Service waving palm branches as the congregation sings "Hosanna, Loud Hosanna." After the children congregate in front of the Altar, they will sing songs celebrating this Sunday for all to hear. This sort of Palm Sunday Parade has been taking place for years and for decades.

Using the Word of God as the means, please behold in your mind's eye and hearken in your soul's ear to "Palm Sunday's Parade."

Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before Him and that followed Him shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!"

We begin in the name of Jesus, AMEN

In the aftermath of captivity in Babylon, the son of Berekiah, a man by the name of Zechariah, brought words of Law and Gospel to the children of God. When the curse of captivity had ended, Zechariah proclaimed the Word of the Lord. Zechariah prophesied of the coming Messiah with words that must have caused the people of the Lord God to wonder and be filled with hope.

"To wonder" because the promised Messiah would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver and that the Lord Himself would strike out against the Good Shepherd. "To be filled with hope" because the same Messiah would come in glory, reign as King and bring peace to His people.

Then one day, Zechariah announced that a parade was coming and He spoke the following words to the children of the Church: "Rejoice greatly, O Zion! Shout aloud, O Daughter of Jerusalem! Lo, your King comes to you; triumphant and victorious is He, humble and riding on an donkey, on a colt the foal of an donkey."

Wow! A parade was coming and the King of Creation would be in it! He would be triumphant and victorious.

"Great," the people said, "but what does this mean, humble and riding on an donkey? It doesn’t seem like the kind of attitude or the sort of beast that goes with the triumphant victories that are celebrated in the parades of this world."

But most people like a parade, and the faithful people of God especially loved a parade when the Lord invited His children to rejoice and shout aloud; when the One True God promised His Church that her King was coming. Only this was a different sort of parade and those who enjoyed it and received the blessings of it, were the ones in the parade, not the ones who watched it as spectators.

Led by the Word spoken through Zechariah, the Old Testament saints joined in the journey of the Lord and lead the Palm Sunday prelude. As they walked, Malachi, Zechariah, Hosea, Joel and others bore witness to the Truth of the Lord and were sustained by the God Who lead His people to the Holy of Holies.

The Parade continued through the centuries and one day, a few days before the Passover, at just the right time the King mounted His donkey, rode triumphantly into Jerusalem, and threaded His way to the temple made with hands.

Stained Glass Baptism Window

The crowds gathered and most of them began to cast their cloaks at the feet of the donkey and at the feet of its Rider. These people, created from the dust of the earth, cut palm branches from nearby trees and greeted the Messiah. The crowds on Palm Sunday cheered and celebrated, for they were people created by the Lord and they knew what His Word promised: Rejoice greatly, O Zion! Shout aloud, O Daughter of Jerusalem! Lo, your King comes to you; triumphant and victorious is He, humble and riding on an ass, on a colt the foal of an ass.

They rejoiced and they shouted aloud as Jesus rode into that city that kills the prophets and stones those sent in the Name of the Lord. He came to defeat death and the devil, to triumph over transgression and tomb, to rescue from wrath and reason.

The faithful knew that the Messiah, the Son of David, the Ancient of Days, the Lord God Almighty would come as Isaiah had foretold, "... to bring Good Tidings to the afflicted; to bind up the broken- hearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives; to proclaim the year of His favor; to comfort all who mourn; and indeed, to grant to those who mourn in Zion --to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning (Isaiah 61:3).

Therefore, during the Palm Sunday Parade, the crowds that went before Him and that followed Him shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" Children sang as they followed their parents' example as young and old were drawn to the Redeemer and joined in that parade.

The disciples who went before the Savior and the disciples who trailed behind Him bore witness in their shouting and with their confession: "This is the Son of David; the Prophet Jesus of Galilee!"

Thus, led by the Word, those Judean saints joined in the journey of the Lord and became part of the Palm Sunday processional. As they walked, they bore witness to the Truth of the Lord and were sustained by the God Who leads His people.

After the Son of David rode into to the holy city, after the Lord made His proclamations in the temple, the joyous, shouting voices of the congregation became still; the garments strewn on the road were picked up; and the palm branches wilted since they had been cut from the trees. At 6:00 that evening, the day known as Palm Sunday was over and the sights and the sounds and the actions and the words of it became a part of the historical record.

However, the Parade continued. The Passover of God was ahead and the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world would shed His innocent Blood for the sins of the world.

The crowds of His disciples would disperse for one reason or another as those followers of Christ trailing Him to the cross that week would dwindle down to a mixed bunch --His mother whose heart was being pierced; a military escort; an African man who shouldered the Savior's cross to the Place of the Skull; a corrupt religious leadership; the disciple whom Jesus loved; and a handful of faithful women. Even these would all stop at a certain point as the Parade's lone participant was lifted high upon the cross.

Dear friends, there, at Calvary, there was Hosanna in the highest! There was the Son of God and the Son of Man, crucified by man and forsaken by God the Father. There the King's cloak lay on the ground beneath the cross and became an item for which men rolled dice. There was where a hyssop branch was broken off and waved in the face of the Passover Lamb. There was where the Parade ground to an awful halt during the mid-day darkness that day when God died. I am talking to You! Yes, You!

Stained Glass Confirmation Window

There, on Calvary, was the consequence of your transgressions and the price of your sins, and........ "Ye who think of sin but lightly, Nor suppose the evil great there may view its nature rightly, there its guilt may estimate. Mark the Sacrifice appointed, See Who bears the awful load; 'Tis the Word, the Lord's Anointed, Son of Man and Son of God."

Dear friends, your Redemption has drawn nigh and the Palm Sunday crowd's cry that went before Him and that followed Him, has drawn you into the proclamation, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!"

Zechariah's prophecy echoes down through time and invites you today: "Rejoice greatly, O Zion! Shout aloud, O Daughter of Jerusalem! Lo, your King comes to you; triumphant and victorious is He, humble and riding on an donkey, on a colt the foal of an donkey."

Dear friends. Notice how the Lord Jesus came then and take note of how He comes now --humble. Every one of you joined the Parade through simple water and the gracious Word of God in Holy Baptism, and have been given the Robe of Christ's Righteousness.

You have heard and continue to hear the Word of forgiveness and absolution, and have been given the Pardon of God and a hand fashioned for a palm branch. You have heard the Word of the Passover Feast, and have been given and continue to receive the Body and Blood of the Incarnate Son of God.

So just what has taken place here on this day we have designated as Palm Sunday? Did the children sing "Hosanna, Loud Hosanna" this morning in remembrance of that historical event when Jesus rode into Jerusalem?

Did each of you sing "Hosanna, Loud Hosanna" at the beginning of the Divine Service as a declaration that what Zechariah foretold has been fulfilled in Christ and His Palm Sunday Parade? Will your participation in the final hymn, "My Song Is Love Unknown" be more than a way of spiritually and mentally preparing yourself for the services this week, especially Good Friday?

Dearly friends in Christ, this is all for you ... for each one of you individually and personally. This Good News is for you and will be sufficient to sustain you to the end and beyond. On this Palm Sunday, you have joined with the crowds that went before so long ago and shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!"

By the Word of God, you have also joined with the crowds that will come after you and together, you have been given reason to rejoice in the Palm Sunday celebration and to be a part of the multitude that sings the never-ending hymns of heaven.

On this Palm Sunday, picture yourself in the following ... After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!" And all the angels stood round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God for ever and ever! Amen" (Revelation 7:9-12).

Christ is Risen.

Luther Rose

 

Christ Is Risen
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