Hail the King Who Humbly Comes to Save Us
These are the readings for Palm Sunday.
(This Worship Help aligns with the lectionary readings from Christian Worship 1993 and Christian Worship: Supplement.)
God’s Word for This Week
Hail the King who humbly comes to save us! For 1700 years the Church has celebrated with hosannas and palm branches this festival that opens Holy Week. Jesus entered Jerusalem to the sounds of praise and adoration of the people there. Laying palm branches and their cloaks in the road, the people honored this prophet from Nazareth as their Savior. Some surely saw their Savior from sin; others likely saw their earthly savior from the Romans and foreign rule. But either way, the songs of exultation rose: “Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is he that comes!”
First Lesson – Zechariah 9:9-10
How is Christ “your king”?
Though he was more than qualified, Jesus never claimed an earthly kingdom like we normally think with the word “king.” Instead, Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world. We often consider him ruling in three kingdoms: the kingdom of power (his power places him above all things in heaven and earth), the kingdom of grace (where he rules in the hearts of his believers), and the kingdom of glory (he rules in heaven and will continue there, into all eternity).
How would this king be different than other earthly kings?
This king is gentle and humble, not the ruthless, power-hungry despot of earthly kingdoms. He also extends peace, contrasting the bloody kingdoms of the worldly empires.
Second Lesson – Philippians 2:5-11
What quality of Christ is stressed as a model for us?
His humility which caused him willingly to lay aside the honor and majesty that were his as God.
Where was Christ’s humility most obvious?
In the death that he died, a form reserved for the worst of criminals—”death on a tree.”
What was the end result of Jesus’ humility?
Jesus is our King, but he came humbly to save us. Though true God, he became man. Though all-powerful, he became a servant. Though immortal and eternal, he died. He not only laid aside his glory, but he took our shame upon him. He not only humbled himself, but he died as one who was cursed. Yet, in this great humility, he won the peace of forgiveness for us. The King came humbly, because he wasn’t on the way to a throne in Jerusalem but to a hill called Golgotha, where he would fulfill God’s mission and save his people. Therefore, God would give him glory greater than his humiliation—every creature will bow the knee and hail him: Jesus Christ is Lord!
Gospel – Matthew 21:1-11
Of what significance is the fact that Jesus is the Son of David?
The Messiah was foretold to be of David’s family (2 Samuel 7:16), and Jesus could trace his line back to King David through both his mother and his earthly father. The Jewish people knew well that the Messiah must have these credentials.