THE CROWDS THAT WENT AHEAD OF JESUS AND THOSE THAT FOLLOWED SHOUTED, “HOSANNA TO THE SON OF DAVID!” “BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!” “HOSANNA IN THE HIGHEST!” (Matthew 21: 9)
WELCOME TO OUR PALM SUNDAY MORNING WEB-WORSHIP
OPENING HYMN (CH-234): – RIDE ON! RIDE ON IN MAJESTY! Hark! All the tribes “Hosanna!” cry; O Saviour meek, pursue Thy road with palms and scattered garments strowed.
Ride on! ride on in majesty! In lowly pomp ride on to die; O Christ, Thy triumphs now begin o’er captive death and conquered sin.
Ride on! ride on in majesty! The winged squadrons of the sky look down with sad and wondering eyes to see the approaching sacrifice.
Ride on! ride on in majesty! Thy last and fiercest strife is nigh; the Father on His sapphire throne awaits His own anointed Son.
Ride on! ride on in majesty! In lowly pomp ride on to die; bow Thy meek head to mortal pain, then take, O God, Thy power, and reign.
LET US PRAY:
GLORIOUS, SAVIOUR LORD, we welcome and praise You this day. We lift up our voices in glad hosannas. We joyfully acknowledge You as King of kings and Lord of lords. Yet we know in our hearts, even as we greet You, that our worship and commitment is sometimes as weak and shallow as that which greeted You as You entered Jerusalem long ago. Forgive us that we go on making the same mistakes made on the first Palm Sunday. We profess to follow You but in our hearts follow our own inclinations. We are self-centred, and preoccupied with appearances, looking for what we can receive rather than give. We are ready to serve when life is good, but reluctant when it involves the way of sacrifice. Glorious, Saviour Lord, come to us again, and speak to us as we read familiar words, as we remember familiar songs, as we recall the triumphal entry into Jerusalem long ago, and as we remember all it meant and all it cost. Help us to see that it was not only in the welcome of Palm Sunday, but in the rejection which followed that You revealed Your glory, and so help us to offer You our service: – Hosanna to Him who comes in the Name of the Lord, Glory in the highest, for evermore. AMEN.
OLD TESTAMENT READING: – ZECHARIAH 9: 8-10).
I WILL DEFEND MY HOUSE AGAINST MARAUDING FORCES. NEVER AGAIN WILL AN OPPRESSOR OVERRUN MY PEOPLE, FOR NOW I AM KEEPING WATCH – SAYS THE LORD. REJOICE GREATLY, O DAUGHTER OF ZION! SHOUT, DAUGHTER OF JERUSALEM! SEE, YOUR KING COMES TO YOU, RIGHTEOUS AND HAVING SALVATION, GENTLE AND RIDING ON A DONKEY, ON A COLT, THE FOAL OF A DONKEY… HE WILL PROCLAIM PEACE TO THE NATIONS. HIS RULE WILL EXTEND FROM SEA TO SEA AND FROM THE RIVER TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH.
NEW TESTAMENT READING: – MATTHEW 6: 13b.
… FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM, AND THE POWER, AND THE GLORY, FOR EVER. AMEN.
(From the Authorised King James Version of the HOLY BIBLE, dated at London, the 26 day of October 1949).
More than 500 years before Jesus was born, the prophet Zechariah had spoken of the triumphant entry of the Messiah into Jerusalem, asking the Daughter of Zion to rejoice and shout. When the prophet declared that the Messiah should come riding upon a donkey, it was as an indication that He will be the glorious King who brings Salvation to His people. Though being the King of kings, yet He was the Lowly One, – GENTLE – as it is defined in our Bible-translation. But the Hebrew word expresses much more: the condition of a man who has been brought low by affliction and sorrow, possessing in Himself the fruit of this sorrow in lowliness and submission in heart. Jesus applied this character to Himself when said, – Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11: 29). These are clear references of what and how things happened on the first Palm Sunday. Triumphant and celebrating victory, a KING is portrayed as entering the city, gentle and riding on a donkey. A sign that His rule will result in Shalom, peace, for all nations, extending from sea to sea.
For once, on Palm Sunday, the MAN OF SORROWS was honoured on the earth, for once the “despised and rejected by men” was glorified as KING and POWERFUL SAVIOUR. As the Paschal Lamb was brought out ritually and solemnly on the first day of the Holy Week, so now the True Paschal Lamb entered Jerusalem to die. He was welcomed by the Jews as the conqueror of the Romans; they did not understand that in fact He was the conqueror of sin and death. How soon the feelings of the people changed, how short-lived were their praises. Let us learn our lesson from the waved palms. Many people are willing to acknowledge Jesus as King and Saviour, but reject Him as Man of Sorrows. If He were to tell them to sit down on His right hand, and be proud of their religion, to condemn others, to believe themselves righteous, they would cry, HOSANNAH! But if He tells to be gentle, to judge not, to take the lowest seat, that enemies must be forgiven, and that blessed are they who mourn, – then they would cry,- Crucify Him, Crucify Him! Let us learn from this to avoid a form of religion which is only lip-service; it is very easy to talk about sacred things with pious talk, but that is not real FAITH. We must show forth our faith not only with our lips but in our lives. Jesus is leading us, as He led people on Palm Sunday, towards His Kingdom, by His Power, into His Glory, forever. And here we are: at the Doxology “attached” to the Lord’s Prayer; TO REMEMBER AND NEVER FORGET, TO WHOSE KINGDOM, AND POWER, AND GLORY WE BELONG … FOREVER.
FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM, AND THE POWER, AND THE GLORY, FOR EVER. AMEN. This last part of The Lord’s Prayer is often considered an “attachment”, but it is found in the majority of the Greek manuscripts, the Greek Textus Receptus (Accepted as original text), and in the early English versions, the KJV, and the NKJV. It is not found in most of the modern versions, but traditionally we end the prayer with the doxological closing phrase, so I cannot omit it from this series on the Lord’s Prayer. The oldest witness, which outdates all Greek manuscripts containing Matthew Chapter six, is the DIDACHE (otherwise known as the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles). This ancient catechism was written around 100 AD, and contains a form of The Lord’s Prayer: -(…thus pray:) Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. Give us today our needful bread, and forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors. And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Thine is the power and the glory for ever. –( Thrice in the day thus pray). I mention this for your personal interest only, so let us have a closer look at the doxology of The Lord’s Prayer, according to the Authorised King James Version of the Holy Bible. Biblically, the doxological closing phrase is similar with King David’s prayer before his death as given in 1 Chronicles 29: 10-11, saying, Praise be to You, O Lord, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendour, for everything in heaven and earth is Yours. Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; You are exalted as head over all.
The six petitions we direct toward God, and we do so confidently because – or, as the prayer says: For, – Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. This concluding “postscript” gives us the whole reason why and what we ask. We can ask big things because we have a Great God. The conclusion to The Lord’s Prayer uses four words to make the point: Kingdom, Power, Glory, and Forever.
KINGDOM. We have encountered this word already. Jesus’ pattern for prayer instructs us earlier on to pray that the Father’s kingdom come, and here is this word again: Thine is the Kingdom. It asserts God’s right to do three things. He has the right to control, to demand, and to determine. We have to believe that God controls every aspect of His Creation as Creator of All. He also demands loyalty and submission from His subjects as Sustainer of All, and as part of it, He has full authority to determine the course and the outcome of events. By saying, Thine is the kingdom, we acknowledge that God has authority to exercise sovereignty over all things.
POWER. It is the ability to do what is desired, and implies the strength to do it. Does God lack the power to supply our needs day by day? Shall He promise and then be unable to deliver what He has promised? Does He lack the power to forgive sins? Shall He teach us to pray for pardon and then be short on mercy? Shall He teach us to pray for protection from the evil one, securing His sheep but in the end be taken by surprise by the thief who comes … to steal and kill and destroy (John 10: 10) ? NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT! HE IS ABLE to exercise with POWER His Fatherly Love towards us as He promised; as the Bible says, He is able to save completely those who come to God through Jesus, because He always lives to intercede for them (Hebrews 7: 25). His is the kingdom and the power.
GLORY. We all know that it is right to glorify God. We all ought to glorify God, but God does not need us to glorify Him. We need to do it, but God does not need us to do it. The Bible tells us that God is self-existent and self-sufficient. He is not accountable to us or anyone else. He is not dependent on any of His subjects. Then why praise Him? Remember, it is our need that is in this Prayer, not His. We benefit when we praise God, when we acknowledge His Glory. Let me remind you a line from a famous hymn, Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation; O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation…(CH-9). Not to recognize this has a damaging effect – not on God but on us. When we neglect to assess His magnitude with awe and wonder, we simply exclude God from our lives and needs. When we exalt ourselves in our own eyes, the bigger we grow, the smaller God becomes than He actually is, and deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 John 1: 9). But when we praise God for who He is and what He has done, it is the sign that we have all the reasons to be thankful to our heavenly Father.
FOREVER. The fourth word is a Reminder. We may think forever will be a long time in coming, but the truth is, we never know, and if we are not ready for forever, then what about faith in the Risen Christ? If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sin. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men ( 1 Corinthians 15: 17-19). The glory of eternal life is our godly token.
The Lord’s Prayer is not just something we say to God. When we pray it, it says something about us. It tells where our priorities are. It tells where our provisions are found. It tells what the core value in our lives is. It tells who God really is to us – and it tells who we really are to Him. HOSANNAH ( Help us now!) is always at hand, as well as glorifying Him, who comes to us in the name of the Lord again this Sunday before Easter, enabling us to find peace and rest for our souls even in this long-lasting global pandemic. AMEN.
LET US PRAY:
OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN, You entered Jerusalem in quiet humility, taking the form of a servant, even to the point of death on a cross, emptying Yourself so that we might be filled. You came not as a king mighty in battle, but as the Prince of Peace, the promised deliverer, sent to heal and restore our broken world. We thank You that Your Kingdom is not of this world, that You rule not as a dictator but as a servant, winning the hearts of Your people, who can call You Our Father. When You look at our lives, the weakness of our faith and the frailty of our commitment, You must grieve over us as surely as You wept for Jerusalem. You offer us salvation, our daily bread, forgiveness of our sins, deliverance from evil, yet we so easily let it slip through our fingers. Help us to confess always, that Yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Come afresh to our troubled world, with all its needs, its despair, its anxiety, its problems, and its evil. Bring healing, as only You can bring, into this Coronavirus-infested humanity. We have struggled for more than a year now to contain this pandemic, and despite all our efforts and apparent successes, neither our plans, nor the vaccines are perfect. We need You, Your almighty power and love to set us free. We ask You to bring hope where there is despair, joy where there is sorrow, confidence where there is uncertainty and fear, strength where there is weakness, healing where there is sickness, and comfort and life where there is death. We thank You for signs of hope in the world today, for the desire to make this planet a safer place; grant that a spirit of trust and co-operation may develop among all; bring the unity that You alone can bring. We pray for all Christians in the world who celebrate Palm Sunday today. May the praises and hosannahs reach Your heights and glorify Your Name. We pray for our Church of Scotland in all its presbyteries and congregations, for all who belong to our church here in Portree, for our loved-ones and ourselves, through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.
THE LORD’S PRAYER: – OUR FATHER, WHO ART IN HEAVEN …
CLOSING HYMN (CH-9) – PRAISE TO THE LORD, the Almighty, the King of creation; O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation; all ye who hear, now to His temple draw near, joining in glad adoration.
Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth, shieldeth thee gently from harm, or when fainting sustaineth; hast thou not seen how thy heart’s wishes have been granted in what He ordaineth?
Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee; surely His goodness and mercy shall daily attend thee; ponder anew what the Almighty can do, who with His love doth befriend thee.
Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore Him! All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him! Let the Amen sound from His people again; gladly for aye we adore Him.
GLORY BE TO THE FATHER, AND TO THE SON, AND TO THE HOLY GHOST; AS IT WAS IN THE BEGINNING, IS NOW, AND EVER SHALL BE, WORLD WITHOUT END. AMEN. (CH – 344)
Sandor, your Minister.
Please see the News and Intimations page for information about the church re-opening for Sunday morning worship from today, 28 March 2021