Confession of Sin – Palm Sunday

Forgiving Father, Your Son came as the gentle King of Glory.

He rode a donkey not a stallion.

He humbled and sacrificed himself in order to bring us peace with You.

We confess our own lack of humility. Forgive us for the lack of gentleness in our lives. Our harsh words have stirred up strife and dissension. Our angry tempers have hurt those we love.

Long ago the crowd with incessant hallelujahs greeted our Savior, but how quickly they mocked as he went lonely to the cross. Forgive us for the ways that we, too, have welcomed Him only in words and resisted His kingship.

May Your Son not find in our hearts another place of crucifixion, but a place of love, loyalty, and devotion fit for such a gentle and humble King. Mold us into the gentle ways of Jesus in whose name we pray, AMEN.

A Chronology of Holy Week

Next week is the most important week of the year for a Christian. Here’s a brief synopsis of the timing of events that took place with the corresponding Scriptures.

Palm Sunday
Triumphal entry into Jerusalem Mt.21:1-11; Mk. 11:1-10; Lk. 19:29-44; Jn.12:12-19

Monday in Holy Week

Jesus curses the fig tree    Mt.21:18-19; Mk.11:12-14
Jesus cleanses the temple    Mt. 21:12-13; Mk.11:15-18

Tuesday in Holy Week

Jesus teaches in the temple    Mt. 21:18-23:39; Mk. 12:1-44; Lk. 20:9-21:4
Jesus anointed in Bethany    Mt. 26: 6-13; Mk.14:3-9; Jn.12: 2-11

Wednesday in Holy Week

The plot against Jesus        Mt. 26:14-16; Mk.14:10-11; Lk. 22:3-6

Maundy Thursday

The Last Supper        Mt. 26:17-29; Mk.14:12-25; Lk. 22:7-20; Jn. 13 :1-38
Jesus Comforts disciples    John 14:1-16:33
Gethsemane            Mt. 26:36-46; Mk. 14:32-42; Lk. 22:40-46

Late Thursday/Early Friday

Jesus’ Arrest and trial    Mt. 26:47-27:26; Mk. 14:43-15:15; Lk. 22:47-23:25; Jn. 18:2-19:16

Good Friday

Jesus’ crucifixion/death    Mt. 27:27-56; Mk. 15:16-41; Lk. 23:26-49; Jn. 19:17-30
Jesus’ burial            Mt. 27:57-66; Mk. 15:42-47; Lk. 23:50-56; Jn. 19:31-42

The empty tomb        Mt. 28:1-10; Mk.16:1-8; Lk. 24:1-12; Jn. 20:11-48
Mary Magdalene sees Jesus    Mk. 16:9-11; Jn. 20:11-18
The Road to Emmaus        Mk. 16:12-13; Lk.24:13-35
Jesus appears to 10 disciples     Mk. 16:14; Lk.24:36-43; Jn. 20:19-25


Holy Week Worship Services

Here are several worship services that we have offered during Holy Week.

Palm Sunday Worship Service

Messianic Passover Seder

Good Friday Worship Service –

Resurrection Sunday Worship Service –

Palm Sunday and the Transcendental Interferer

When C.S. Lewis came to faith, he wasn’t happy at all because the first thing that happened to him was the realization that God was God and that he was not. Jesus Christ was a transcendental interferer, barging into Lewis’ life and saying, “You’re not God, I am.”

In his own words, he describes his feelings: “No word in my vocabulary expressed deeper hatred than the word interference. And the Bible placed at the center what seemed to me a Transcendental Interferer.” (C.S. Lewis, Surprised By Joy, p. 172)

What a great description of Jesus: The Transcendental Interferer. We have a natural bent to distrust anyone who wants to rule over us… Remember Paul Revere’s ride … the British are coming, the British are coming. But Jesus initially comes to his people gentle, meek, and humbly mounted on a donkey not on a war horse. This shatters expectations and disappointment to many hearts, but hopefully his manner of coming will slowly dissolve our stubbornness so that we open the door and grant him unhindered sway over our lives. I hope this happens for you in fresh, transformative ways in the near future!

A Devotional Guide for Holy Week

The upcoming week ranks supreme in our church calendar as well as in the life of any follower of Jesus. Thus, I would encourage you to not let this week go by without intentionally spending time in God’s Word asking the living Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit to speak to you.

In our day, the church has lost much of its observance of Holy Week and we are spiritually impoverished because of it. The prayers and Scriptures below are designed to walk you through the events surrounding the passion and sufferings of our Lord. You don’t have to implement the whole guide, but the Lord has a blessing for you in some part of the devotional guide below. I commend it to you as a simple resource to spiritually engage with Christ at this important time of year! This simple guide comes from my days of serving on the staff of a great church called Intown Community Church in Atlanta, GA.

Devotions for Holy Week

Lord Jesus Christ, in this solemn week when we see again the depth and mystery of your redeeming love, help us to follow where you go, to stop where you stumble, to listen when you cry, to hurt as you suffer, to bow our heads in sorrow when you die, so that when you are raised to life again we may truly share in your endless joy. Amen.
– Prayer for Holy Week, Book of Common Order of the Church of Scotland, 1994

We hope that you can find time each day to remember and celebrate all that Jesus endured to rescue us. When reflecting on the gospels, be mindful of certain questions: What is this passage telling us about Jesus – his person, work, and teaching? What difference should this make in my life? How would I live differently if the truths of this text were more powerfully real to me?

The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday

O Everliving God, let this mind be in us which was also in Christ Jesus; that as he from his loftiness stooped to the death of the cross, so we in our lowliness may humble ourselves, believing, obeying, living, and dying to the glory of the Father; for the same Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.  – Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830 -1894)

I Timothy 6:12-16    Fight the good fight
Matthew 21:12-17    The Temple cleansed

Monday in Holy Week

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross may find it none other than the way of life: Grant us so to boast in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer, 1979

Philippians 3:1-14    The surpassing greatness of knowing Christ
John 12:9-19    The Triumphal Entry

Tuesday in Holy Week

Almighty Father, Everlasting God, you permitted your son to suffer the anguish of the cross for us, so that you might drive the power of the enemy from us: Grant us that we may so commemorate and give thanks for His suffering that we may thereby know forgiveness of sin and redemption from eternal death; through the same, your Son. Amen.
– Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Philippians 3:15-21     Our citizenship is in heaven
John 12:20-26    The hour has come for the son of man to be glorified

Wednesday in Holy Week

Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his face to be spit upon: Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer (1979)

Philippians 4:1-13    Rejoice in the Lord always
John 12:27-36    Now my heart is troubled

Maundy Thursday

Holy God, source of all love, on the night of his betrayal Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment, to love one another as he loved them. Write this commandment in our hearts; give us the will to serve others as he was the servant of all, who gave his life and died for us, yet is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
Lutheran Book of Worship (1978)

I Corinthians 11:23-34        The Lord’s Supper
John 13:1-17        Jesus washes his disciples’

Good Friday

My Father, enlarge my heart, warm my affections, and open my lips to proclaim the love of Calvary. There Christ was all anguish that I might be all joy, cast off that I might be brought in, trodden down as an enemy that I might be welcomed as a friend, surrendered to hell’s worst that I might attain heaven’s best, stripped that I might be clothed, wounded that I might be healed, athirst that I might drink, tormented that I might be comforted, made a shame that I might inherit glory. My savior wept that all tears might be wiped from my eyes, groaned that I might have endless song, endured all pain that I might have unfading health, bore a thorned crown that I might have a glory-diadem, bowed his head that I might uplift mine, experienced reproach that I might receive welcome, closed his eyes in death that I might gaze on unclouded brightness, expired that I might ever live. O Father, help me to adore you by lips and life. O that my every breath might be ecstatic praise, my every step buoyant with delight, as I see my enemies crushed, Satan baffled, defeated, and destroyed, sin buried in the ocean of reconciling blood, hell’s gates closed, heaven’s portal open. God forth, O conquering God, and show me the cross, mighty to subdue, comfort and save. Amen.
– Adapted from The Valley of Vision. A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions (1975).

Hebrews 10:4-17    The true sacrifice
John 19:1-42    The crucifixion

Easter Saturday

O God, whose loving kindness is infinite, mercifully hear our prayers; and grant that as in this life we are united in the mystical body of your Church, and in death are laid in the ground with the sure hope of resurrection; so at the last day we may rise to the life immortal, and be numbered with your saints in glory everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.                    – Anonymous

Hebrews 4:1-16    A sabbath rest
Matthew 28:1-10    The resurrection

Easter Sunday, the Resurrection of the Lord

God our Father, creator of all, today is the day of Easter joy. This is the morning on which the Lord appeared to men who had begun to lose hope and opened their eyes to what the scriptures foretold that first he must die, and then he would rise and ascend before his Father’s glorious presence. May the risen Lord breathe on our minds and open our eyes that we may know him in the breaking of bread, and follow him in his risen life. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.                – Lutheran Book of Worship (1978)

Exodus 12:1-14    The Passover
Luke 24:13-35    The Emmaus Road

Praying that We Might Praise Him Like the Children

Is Jesus as loudly praised and as greatly rejoiced in among us today as he was by the children long ago in Jerusalem?

Oh “the joy of Christ’s presence with his people. Oh, that we might have it! Bickerings soon cease, murmurings come to an end, complaints against one another, and against God’s providence are all hushed; the sense that Jesus Christ is with his people drowns every note of sorrow, and every heart is tuned to loudest notes of thankfulness.” – Charles Spurgeon

Good and gentle King Jesus, make us joyful in your house of prayer.  Remind us Lord that this church is Your house, not ours.

Make us joyful in seeing you answer our prayers.  Rekindle in our hearts a new resolve to seek you in believing prayer for the nations…  You tell us to ask of You and you will give the nations to Jesus as His inheritance…in Bulgaria, England, Peru, China, Japan, Ecuador, Mexico, Uganda, Malawi, and Liberia… In all of these countries as well as our own, transform idol worshipers into worshipers of You, the living God!

Make us joyful in seeing you work your healing power in the lives of those broken by sin.  Long ago, the lame walked, the blind saw!  Today, may Your power work to change people, to make broken people whole by Your transforming grace.

Make us joyful in seeing children (young and older) praising you with great zeal and devotion.

Our Lord’s Triumphal Entry – Gleanings from the Man of Granite with the Heart of a Child

The Triumphal Entry of our Lord is spoken of four times in the New Testament.  “It is evident that it is a scene in the earthly life of Jesus which Christians are intended to study with special attention.  Let us study it and see what practical lessons we may learn for our own souls” (J.C. Ryle, Mark, p. 227).

Jesus’ triumphal entry helps us to understand the nature of his kingdom. Up to this point in his life and ministry, Jesus has refrained from receiving the title of King.  Now he openly declares himself to be a King for He is not far from the end of his earthly course.  His removal to heaven is at hand.  Thus, he openly commences his earthly reign in the hearts and praise of his people.

Who are the people who attend him on his triumphal entry? The garments placed on the borrowed beast of burden were marks of raw and disgraceful poverty – the very poorest of the poor, those who belong to the despised multitude.  His kingdom does not resemble earthly kingdoms.  His kingdom does not consist of the fading riches of this world. “The gospel writers are not making a statement so much about possessions here as about Christ: As the rightful King, he has the right to anything in creation, certainly among his people”(Blomberg, pp. 311-12).

How can we who are too much devoted to wealth and splendor derive any advantage from this narrative of the triumphal entry? Consider the prophecy from Zechariah: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!” The Prophet shows that the coming of Christ yields to believers a full and complete ground of joy; for, since God is not reconciled to them in any other way than through the agency of the Mediator, and as it is the same Mediator who delivers his people from all evils, what can there be, apart from him, that is fitted to cheer men ruined by their sins, and oppressed by troubles?

Matthew 21:6 – “The disciples went.”  Let us also learn by their example to press forward through every kind of difficulty, so as to render to the Lord the obedience which he demands from us; for he will remove obstacles, and open up a path, and will not permit our endeavors to be unavailing. Christ’s kingdom begins by God’s command and appointment. “He comes in the name of the LORD” (v.9).