Sermon for Palm Sunday – 4.2.23

+ Palm Sunday – April 2nd, 2023 +

John 12:12-19; Isaiah 50:4-9; Philippians 2:5-11; John 12:20-43

Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church

Milton, WA

 

“Just Beginning”

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

A marathon runner reaches the finish line, greeted by the roar of the crowds and cowbells.

A driver ends a long race with one last burnout before waving the checkered flag.

A hero returns to the castle after slaying the dragon and trumpets blare to announce the feast.

 

Quite often, the end of a journey, a quest, a race, or even milestones in life are met with feast and fanfare. Singing and celebration. Honor. Glory. Joy.

 

Palm Sunday has all of that. Jesus goes up to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. But of course that’s not all. He is the Passover Lamb entering Jerusalem to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins in the Passover of his death on the cross.

 

Jesus enters Jerusalem surrounded by a raucous fanfare. The crowds gathered palm branches and waved them. And laid them before his feet as he rode atop a donkey. A royal entrance for the King of kings and Lord of lords who would soon be crowned with thorns for the crowds, for the world, for you.

 

Palm Sunday has singing and celebration. The crowds hoot and holler, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 

 

Even the prophets rejoice that their word is fulfilled…“Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!”

 

Palm Sunday has all the makings of a great journey’s end party. Feast and fanfare. Singing and celebration. Honor. Glory. Joy. Palm Sunday has it all. Except for this. This is not the end. Not really. Yes, Jesus’ public ministry is ending. Yes, his has finally arrived in Jerusalem. But Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday is more than an end. It’s also the beginning. It’s the beginning of Holy Week. The beginning of the Great Week where he accomplished your salvation.

 

As Jesus enters Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, his journey isn’t over. Atop the donkey, Jesus looks down the road and sees the Passover with his disciples, where he gives his body and blood to forgive sin. Jesus sees the garden. Betrayal. And trial. He sees the scorn and scourging. The mockery and malice. He sees and he hears the crowds yelling for this death, “Crucify him!” From Palm Sunday he sees the end of his journey. To his cross for you. It is finished, for you. Into the tomb for you. Down into hell to proclaim his victory for you. Alive again and out of the grave for you. Christ is risen for you!

 

Palm Sunday is an end to many things, but it’s not the end of Jesus’ work to save you. It’s a beginning. Jesus is just getting started.

 

Today our catechumens will be confirmed. There is fanfare and feast. Singing and celebration. And yet, this is not the end. Not really. Yes, your Monday evening confirmation class is over. But confirmation is not the end for you, or for all who are confirmed. It is a beginning. Or rather, a continuing.

 

Today you confess the name of Christ that was first placed upon you in Holy Baptism. Today, as you have been since the day of your baptism you are a baptized, redeemed child of God. Today, you don’t get to put away your Small Catechism or your Bible and let it gather dust on a shelf. Today you continue your journey. It’s not your graduation from church, but the beginning and continuing of your life in Christ. Receive his gifts. Come to his table. Hear his word. Confess the faith given to you. This is what Jesus calls us all to do and to live in.

 

And in this, you are not alone. You have your parents. Family. Brothers and sisters in Christ. You have this congregation who prays for you. Supports you. Rejoices with you in receiving God’s gifts. And most of all, you have the love and grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ crucified and risen for you.

 

The same Lord who entered Jerusalem for you but did not stop to rest on Palm Sunday, but he kept going to the upper room, to the garden, to the court of the high priest, to Pilate, to his cross, to his tomb, to his death, to his resurrection – all for you. For us all.

 

Palm Sunday is a day of feast and fanfare. The Lord who rode into Jerusalem atop a donkey, now rides in, with, and under bread and wine with his body and blood to forgive you. Palm Sunday is a day of singing and celebration. Hosanna! Blessed are you who come in the name of the Lord to his table. And yet, Palm Sunday is not the end; it is the beginning of Holy Week. Palm Sunday sets in motion the Greatest Week in the history of the world. A week that begins today, but ends with Jesus crucified on Good Friday, and risen from the dead three days later. For the world. For all. For you.

 

A blessed Palm Sunday to each of you…

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
8:30am-12:30pm

By appointment only June and July

Contact

Address
2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
Phone
(253) 922-6977
Fax
(253) 922-6977