Palm Sunday and Praying for God’s Mission
This is a bittersweet time for me. We are getting into the exciting parts of Lent, but it also means Lent is almost over. I feel the same way when the postseason of baseball starts. For baseball, it means the best baseball of the season is about to start, but that the season is almost over. For Lent, the best parts are in front of us. Everything that we have done leads up to this moment, but Lent is almost over. This week we start to look at what Jesus did for us.
This Sunday is Palm Sunday. I remember this Sunday a lot when I was growing up. It was the Sunday where I got a palm to play with. It was also the Sunday where we were able to sit down during the gospel reading because it was longer than usual.
Thanks for joining me in this journey into Lent and how it relates to God’s mission. I invite you now to sit back, grab your beverage of choice and read this over with God.
The People Praise Jesus
The first part of this Sunday is celebrating the Triumphant Entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. This year for Lent we read the account of the story found in Luke 19.28-44. I highly recommend that you take time on this Sunday or before to read and reflect on this passage. The best part of this,is the fulfillment of the Old Testament. God is coming through on His promise to us and He is working towards His mission. I don’t know about you, but I can picture this scene. The crowd welcomes Jesus with praises and lining the road with palm branches, coats, and cloaks.
How do we respond to this in prayer? One word: Worship. Jesus says that if we don’t praise him, the rocks will cry out in our place. I for one don’t want a rock praising Jesus in my place. Worship helps to remind us that we are praying to a big God. A God who is on mission to save the world. That, my friends, is a great reason to praise God! And the more we praise him, the more we want to pray for his mission.
Betrayed with a Kiss
The other part of this Sunday is the Passion of Jesus, aka His suffering. This year’s passion reading is from Luke 22.14-23.56. This is the story of Jesus from the last supper to His death on the cross. In some churches this weekend, this will be read in parts, with one reading the words of Jesus, a narrator, and the others parts. There is value in reading a chunk of scripture at once. For starters, we get the context more easily. For this passage, it is getting to know how Jesus suffered for us. I will be taking the time to read this with my family, to let it sink in how much he went through so that we could be saved.
I suggest that you read it out loud with friends, family, or both. When you are finished thank Jesus for going through with it. Then, pray for those you want to be saved. Not only did he do this for us, the believers, but that he did for those that are yet to be saved. I also recommend that you don’t read about the resurrection yet. This goes back to knowing Him in his suffering. Also, I think as Christians, especially in Protestant Churches, we rush to the resurrection and we don’t really ponder His death very much. Holy Week can be a time to do that.
High Priest Tears his Clothes
These readings go well with the passion reading from Luke. I suggest that you take the time to read each passage and reflect on what you are hearing from God. Please share what it is that God that sharing with you.
Isaiah 50.4-9: This passage starts out declaring it is God who opens eyes and ears. That is prayer request for those around you that need his saving grace. The other interesting thing about this passage is the talk of not hiding your face when being mocked. It reminds me of Jesus, how he went willingly. How the Father helped him through being the sacrifice for our sins.
Psalm 31.9-16: This is a great Psalm. The Psalmist is being put to shame. So, what does he do, he cries out to God for mercy. This is a great example for us to follow. Whatever comes your way, cry out to God for help. He is for us and not against us. He can be an ally for you.
Philippians 2.5-11: This passage is great. Jesus, who is God, stepped down from heaven and became a servant. A servant who was obedient, even to death. This is what He did so that we can be saved - the ultimate sacrifice paid out of love. I suggest that you spend time thanking him.
Video to respond in worship
Jesus is the Father’s sacrifice. After coming into Jerusalem with victory, less than week later He was nailed to a cross. He did this for us and for others that He is going to save from their sins. This week, worship him because he died for YOU. Than pray that others will have their ears and eyes open towards him. Then after you pray, pray two more times, early and often.