You are here:  Services > Weekly Reflections and Prayers

UPPER DEVER CHURCHES PALM SUNDAY 5th April 2020

Matthew 21: 1-11 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away. This took place to fulfil what was spoken through the prophet: ‘Say to Daughter Zion, “See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”’ The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.The crowds that went ahead of him 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 heaven!’

Matthew 27:12-20 When Jesus was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate asked him, ‘Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?’But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge – to the great amazement of the governor. Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd.At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas.So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, ‘Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?’ For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him. The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.

Reflection Each week for the past two weeks we have seen and experienced seismic shifts to our normal way of life. Schools and colleges were ordered to close. Churches have since closed. What a difference a week makes.

The two narratives that are offered to us by Matthew are also set a week apart. What I want to focus on is the crowd. The crowd, as Jesus returns to Jerusalem, is full of praise – they are lining the street to welcome him and shouting in complete jubilation “Hosanna to the son of David” and “Hosanna in the highest heaven”. As he entered Jerusalem, the crowd lined his path with the most expensive garment they owned, their cloaks, whilst others pulled the palms of the tree – such respect, such adoration. Within a week, Jesus eats with his disciples, is betrayed, arrested and is subjected to a mock trial. Then we see Pilate offering the crowd a choice of whether he should release Jesus from prison. Jesus, who has done nothing wrong or Barabbas, a convicted murderer. And, it is the crowd who decides, the same crowd who only a week earlier were proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah and laying the cloaks to mark Jesus path. They decided that it is Jesus who should be put to death by crucifixion (the most humiliating death) and that Barabbas should be released. What a difference a week makes. The crowd were not ready for Jesus the Christ – they were looking for a political leader who would rescue them and not servant leader who would save them from their sins. So, as we walk through Holy Week from Palm Sunday to Good Friday, let us do so in reflection and in prayer, in sacrifice and in service to others, fully reconciled to God through Jesus Christ.

Psalm 118: 19-24 Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous may enter. I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
you have become my salvation. The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this and it is marvellous in our eyes.The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.

Prayer Father God your Son was celebrated on Palm Sunday but yet within a week He was being obedient unto death.

Teach us to accept our role in life, the adulation as well as the criticism. Help us to patiently learn the obedience of following you and even though in isolation help us to reach out to you for our daily strength and hope. Walk with those who serve in hospitals and deliver essential goods and who care for the vulnerable. In the midst of such suffering give us thankful hearts for the good things you give us day by day. In Jesus name, Amen