The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A huge crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Can you imagine how exciting that first Palm Sunday must have been? The crowds were cheering, people were waving palm branches in the air, and bystanders were laying their cloaks on the ground; all to welcome this charismatic new rabbi named Jesus. And when they saw Him riding a donkey into Jerusalem, the energetic crowd began to cry out, “Hosanna to the Son of David!”
Now, if you’re anything like me, you might be wondering what the word “Hosanna” means and why the crowd refers to Jesus as “Son of David.” At the risk of oversimplification, the crowd’s expression that first Palm Sunday roughly translates to, “Save us, Messiah, Save us!” This means that the crowds were affirming their belief that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah and that He had the power to finally save their people.
But what kind of salvation were the crowds crying out for that day?
Tragically, the salvation they were yearning for wasn’t an outpouring of God’s forgiving and life-changing grace. Instead, their picture of salvation was caught up in their desire to be politically free of Rome’s power and they hoped that Jesus would use His power to crush their hated Roman oppressors. Or to put it differently, the crowds that day were looking for a salvation that would come through the shedding of Roman blood.
But that’s not the Savior that Jesus was or is.
Don’t get me wrong, Jesus did come to bring salvation as Israel’s long-awaited Messiah. But the salvation he came to bring would come through the shedding of His blood and not the blood of the Romans. And it would be through the breaking of His own body, and not the bodies of Roman oppressors, that true salvation from sin and death would come.
As I reflect on the story of Palm Sunday in light of Jesus’ death and resurrection, it seems clear to me that the crowds gathered there that day misunderstood who Jesus really was and the kind of Savior He would be.
As I sit with this observation, I can’t help but wonder: as the church, are we any different? After all, every Sunday, we gather in worship to celebrate Jesus but do we genuinely understand Him, what matters to Him, and the kind of Savior He really is? Or have we continued to misunderstand Him?
These are just some things I’m mulling over as we draw closer to Holy Week…
Good Friday: Tenebrae Service
We are having a Good Friday Tenebrae service at 7 pm on Friday, April 15th in the sanctuary during which time we will be reading through the gospel of John’s account of Jesus’ crucifixion during the service. Currently, we are still in need of someone who can dim the lights throughout the course of the service (this is part of the symbolism of the Tenebrae service). If you are interested in helping out in this way, please reach out to either Gretchen or Pastor Chris.
Easter Sunday: Traditional and Sunrise Services
We will be having a traditional service (10:30 in the sanctuary as usual) and a sunrise service on Easter Sunday. The sunrise service will be at 7 am and will meet in the prayer garden. There will also be light refreshments, such as bagels and coffee, provided at the sunrise service.
Volunteers for Coffee Hour
We are looking to resume coffee hour in the near future. However, we need more volunteers to make this happen! Should you be interested in helping out, please connect with Grace Espeut.
Easter Plant Sale
Easter plants are available for purchase. The order form has been up-dated, and orders can be placed in the collection basket, mailed in or left on the desk in the office. You may also call the office to order All orders must be placed no later than April 10th, and will be on display Sunday, April 17th. You may take your flowers home with you after that Easter Service
Leadership Council Meeting
Our next Leadership Council meeting is Tuesday, April 12th, at 6:30 pm in the conference room in A-Wing. Also, the minutes from March’s meeting have been formally approved and are now available for anyone who wants to read them. You may email Gretchen for a copy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Small-Group Study: “The Walk”
During Lent, our small groups will be going through a study based on Rev. Adam Hamilton’s new book called “The Walk.” Throughout this study, you’ll learn more about the spiritual practices that can help us grow closer to God and mature in Christlikeness.
Our Tuesday group will be led by Lynn Becker and held on Tuesdays at 1 pm. Our Sunday morning group will meet at 9 am on Sundays and be led by Bruce LaPenta. Both groups will meet in the A-Wing Conference room. If you are interested in being a part of either group, don’t hesitate to contact Bruce (email@example.com) or Lynn (firstname.lastname@example.org).