Sunrise: Matins, Page 208, Lutheran Worship
Easter Festival Worship: Divine Service II, Page 158, Lutheran Worship
Listen to Today’s Sermon:
As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks, ‘Why are you doing this?”’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’” They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. – Mark 11:1-7
Jesus offers a striking contrast regarding himself and his ministry. He tells the disciples sight unseen where to find a donkey and its colt (Matthew 21:2), and what its owners were going to say. This was a clear display of his power as true God. In contrast, Jesus chose to ride into Jerusalem on that colt, just as it had been prophesied (Zechariah 9:9). This was a clear display of his humility as true man. It was this contrast of power and humility which made Jesus perfectly equipped to be the Savior of all.
On Palm Sunday Jesus entered Jerusalem to the welcoming cries of “Hosanna!” People were ready to receive him as king and heir to David’s throne. By the end of the week, their exhilaration was replaced with disappointment because Jesus didn’t rise to their expectations. Instead of a large well-equipped army, Jesus had a rag tag band of followers. Instead of a chariot led by spirited horses, he had a beast of burden. Instead of parading the prestige of his kingdom, he displayed his humility. But this was how Jesus chose to reveal his glory.
It was this display of glory in humility that assures me that my rescue is complete and certain. Jesus came to suffer humiliation and die at the hands of his enemies. While many regard this as a sign of weakness, it actually revealed his glory. He was willing to humble himself to become my Substitute. As such he endured my shame, my mockery, my punishment, even my death. He subjected himself to humility so that I could receive glory.
In his humiliation Jesus undertook the battle I couldn’t fight. He engaged the devil, death and the grave, and endured their shame and torment. When he rose from the grave, he proclaimed the victory was complete and the enemy was vanquished.
Because of Jesus I know I am free from the devil’s tyranny. I am free from the fear of death. I am even free to enjoy a life of blessing now, and forever in heaven. I can live with this unshakable confidence because it is mine through faith in Jesus and his precious work. How blessed I am to know that Jesus covered his glory with humility to lift me up from my humility to enjoy his glory.
Prayer: O gracious Lord, you were mocked, sentenced and crucified because of my shameful and sinful life. Yet through your humility I see your glory as my God and Savior. Amen.
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” – Luke 23:34
As the soldiers drove nails through his hands and feet to the cross, Jesus did not pray to his heavenly Father for help to bear the immense pain. Nor did he ask his Father to avenge his enemies for all his innocent suffering. Instead, with his first statement from the cross, we see the true heart of our Savior. “Father, forgive them,” Jesus said. He prayed that his Father would show mercy to those who were inflicting death on him. He prayed for their forgiveness because he was dying to take away the guilt of their sin.
Jesus’ prayer is for us, too. He knows our sins: the times we have let other things in this world and in our lives come before God, the times we have misused his name and neglected his Word, the times we have disobeyed our parents and been disrespectful to those in authority, the times we have hurt somebody by what we have said or done, the times we have belittled God’s gifts of sex and marriage, the times we have stolen or lied or gossiped or coveted something that didn’t belong to us. Jesus had all of that in mind—all of those things for which we deserve God’s disdain and destruction, and our Savior pleads, “Father, forgive them!”
Not only do we hear Jesus pray for our forgiveness, but we also see him pay for our forgiveness. Hanging on the cross that day, he accepted all the wrath of God directed against all the sins of the world. He was the sacrificial Lamb of God who took away your sins, my sins, the sins of everyone. Because of the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf, God does not count our sins against us. Fully and freely he forgives us through Jesus. Oh, how that leads us to love God our Savior!
Prayer: Dearest Jesus, it was my sin too that led you to sacrifice yourself on the cross. Assure me that all my sins are taken away by your death for me. Stir up my love for you and fill my heart with the peace of God’s forgiveness. Amen.