Daily Devotion for March 20, 2016
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Our “Virtual Sunday Church” this week is the Edenton Street United Methodist in Raleigh, NC. Click the lyrics and sing along!
All glory, laud, and honor,
to thee, Redeemer, King,
to whom the lips of children
made sweet hosannas ring.
Thou art the King of Israel,
thou David's royal Son,
who in the Lord's name comest,
the King and Blessed One.
The company of angels
are praising thee on high,
and we with all creation
in chorus make reply.
The people of the Hebrews
with psalms before thee went;
our prayer and praise and anthems
before thee we present.
To thee, before thy passion,
they sang their hymns of praise;
to thee, now high exalted,
our melody we raise.
Thou didst accept their praises;
accept the prayers we bring,
who in all good delightest,
thou good and gracious King.
Music by Melchior Teschner,
Lyrics by Theodulph of Orleans.
Prayer for Palm Sunday
Giver of light, your steadfast love endures forever. Open our hearts to the Blessed One who comes so humbly, on a borrowed colt. Open before us the gates of your justice, that we may enter, confessing in heaven and on earth that Jesus is Lord. Amen.
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Lord, you have brought me to the beginning of a new day. As the world is renewed fresh and clean, so I ask you to renew my heart with your strength and purpose. Forgive me the errors of yesterday and bless me to walk closer in your way today. This is the day I begin my life anew; shine through me so that every person I meet may feel your presence in my soul. Take my hand, precious Lord, for I cannot make it by myself. Through Christ I pray and live,
For a Blessing on the Families of the Land
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who sets the solitary person in the comfort of families; I commend to your continual care the homes in which your people dwell. Put far from them, I beseech you, every root of bitterness, the desire of boastful vanity, and the pride of life. Fill them with faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness. Knit together in constant affection those who, in holy wedlock, have been made one flesh; turn the heart of the parents to the children, and the heart of the children to the parents; and fill us all with true love and charity, so that we put aside petty differences and act with kind affection and the sympathy of brotherly love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
God of mercy, swift to help: as my lips pour forth your praise, fill my heart with the peace you give to those who wait for your salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
John 12:12-19 (NKJV)
Jesus Enters Jerusalem
The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out:
"Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! [ Psalm 118:26] The King of Israel!"
Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written:
"Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming, Sitting on a donkey's colt." [Zechariah 9:9]
His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.
Therefore the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of his tomb and raised him from the dead, bore witness. For this reason the people also met Him, because they heard that He had done this sign. The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, "You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!"
Notes on the Scripture
Today's scripture is celebrated as Palm Sunday. It was the day when Jesus was widely proclaimed as the Messiah by the Jews of Jerusalem; like Castro marching into Havana, or Charles de Gaulle marching into Paris at the end of WW2, the people widely believed that the Messiah prophesied for a thousand years or more, memorialized in the Hebrew Bible, had arrived and was marching triumphantly into the city to liberate it. As foretold, he rode on a donkey. Even the Pharisees were temporarily taken aback.
The Pharisees were not necessarily Jesus' enemies. Many of them were on the fence, either as a matter of faith or simply as a matter of political astuteness. They thought that Christ was a political figure who was rebelling against the Sanhedrin — his most avid opponents were the great high priest Caiaphas and the Sadducees, including the powerful Annas. The Pharisees quoted at the end of today's lesson seem, mainly, to want to pick the winning side before it's too late.
As the Jewish leaders had feared, there is a great popular swelling of support for Jesus. The catalyst for this had been the spectacular, and very public, raising of Lazarus from the dead in Bethany, just outside Jerusalem's walls.
There is a great dramatic irony in the scene. We know, and the apostles know, that although Jesus is the Messiah, he does not care about earthly power and has no intention of becoming the temporal king of Israel or assuming the political power of the High Priest. He is operating in a completely different sphere. His real revolution is to occur at a level most of them cannot comprehend, because they have not listened to or absorbed his teachings.
The people hail him as a savior. The Sanhedrin fears him as a revolutionary leader. But, although they are correct that he comes to bring a new order, they are substantially clueless about his intentions. For he comes, not to liberate the Hebrews from slavery to Rome, but to liberate all mankind from the slavery of sin.