Texts: Palm: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29; Matthew 21: 1-11, Passion: Isaiah 50:4-9; Psalm 31:9-16; Philippians 2:5-11; Matthew 26:14-27:66 or Matthew 27:11-54
Message: “Who is This?”
In spite of all the excitement of the scene, in spite of the shouting and the singing and the tossing of coats and hats in the air and the waving of palm branches we still come away from this scene somewhat puzzled by it all. The whole story seems to be haunted with a big question mark. What does all the pomp and glory mean in the light of what is about to take place during the rest of the week?
Is it an end, or a beginning? Is it a triumph or a tragedy? Is it a success or a failure? The question that arises out of this event is “Who is this?” It is a question for us as well as it was for those who first asked it that first Palm Sunday.
Today there are those who look upon Christ and his body the church with disdain, and ask sarcastically, “Who is the? What is this? Do you really believe in this man? What difference can he possibly make? Is he able to solve all the world’s problems? Can he really save us? What possible effect, what possible difference can he make on our post-modern world today?
We are confronted this morning with answering the question? “Who is this? At the time of the first Palm Sunday the question was asked and answered and it rings down through time to us today. And will we answer that question? Not just with our words, but with our deeds of love and mercy and grace? The first disciples answered this question not only with their words, but with their lives, not only with their theology, but with their faith, in their conduct and in their obedience to their risen Lord.
And who shall answer the question today? Will you, will I? And how shall we answer that question, with one day a week, one-tenth of our income, our “religion?” Will the world say of those of us who truly follow the risen and triumphant Jesus: “What a difference!” Who is this, indeed: Son of God and Son of Man. The One who said simply in the midst of it all: “Follow me!”
Music: “All Glory, Laud and Honor,” “Hosanna, Loud Hosanna,” “When His Salvation Bringing”
Call to Worship
Pastor: Come, let us worship the King
People: The King who made his triumphal entry upon a humble beast of burden
Pastor: The King who established His Kingdom upon a cross;
People: The King who gained His victory in apparent defeat.
God of our moments and our years, helps us this morning to truly worship—not just to mouth the right words, not just to sing the right notes, not just to stand and sit at the right times, but to open our spirits to your Spirit, to agonize in prayer, to celebrate our new life, to sing and say our hosannas, and to seek your will for our lives.
Prayer of Confession
God of the ages, whose love is eternal, we confess that sometimes our faith has been shallow, our enthusiasm has been temporary, and our commitment has been halfhearted. Restore to us the joy and excitement of our faith, and energize us in our mission to be a positive influence in our world.
Words of Assurance
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the LORD GOD is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation. –Isaiah 12:2
Prayer of Thanks
Thank you for riding into our lives, for that has made all the difference.
We can shout hosannas with our mouths, we can model hosannas with our lives, and we can express hosannas with our gifts—which we will do at this time.
Receive, Lord Jesus, our praise and honor as we dedicate these gifts to you and to your kingly rule in our world.
Honor and serve your King until he comes triumphant, not riding an a borrowed donkey over a roadway of old coats, but announced by the trumpets of God, riding upon the clouds of heaven, and honored by all who have looked forward to his return.
(Prayers and other worship items courtesy of Leroy Koopman @ Liturgical Publications. Subscribers are permitted to reprint material in non-profit publications only; all other reproduction is prohibited. 2013 Liturgical Publications Inc, LPi Resource Center, P.O. Box 510817, New Berlin, WE 53151-0817, 1-800-950-9952 ext. 2469)