March 25 2018 - Palm Sunday  

The Point of this Week’s Readings

Christ is going to enter this world and greatly change things. There will be varying responses to Christ’s work, but make no mistake all the world will ultimately acknowledge and “confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:11).

The Psalm (118:19-29) is an open and unashamed acknowledgement of Christ’s work of salvation. It becomes a litany of praise and thanksgiving. In the middle of these verses it is obvious that the religious leaders will not accept Christ’s work. Their rejection will become a stumbling block for them. But, His work will be a cornerstone of Christ’s followers.

The Old Testament (Zechariah 9:9-12) pictures Christ entering Jerusalem on Psalm Sunday. In His gentle humbleness Christ seeks to restore all of Israel to the united nation it was before the split. All of the hurts and pains that have been suffered from being exiled are now to be healed and made twice as good.

The Epistle (Philippians 2:5-11) points to Christ coming in great humility. Jesus did not forcibly hold on to His rightful god-hood but gave it up for our salvation. But the Father does not forget Jesus but exalts Him above every name. There is also the implication that some would not accept that manner of salvation work. They, however much to their chagrin, will most certainly one day bow before the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Gospel (John 12:20-43) responds to the Greeks seeking to see Jesus. This leads to Jesus’ teaching all who were present about His upcoming death. Jesus’ teaching is very plain and straight forward. The Father confirms Jesus through what some thought was thunder. Though Jesus had done many miraculous things for all to see, the Jewish leaders refuse to believe in Him. This, too, confirms the prophecy Isaiah had made in Isaiah 53:1.

For more in-depth commentary on each reading, read the notes found in the Sermon Notes section of this web site.  

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Introduction to Blog on the Gospel of Mark

In the Lutheran Church, the readings in the worship services are divided over three years.  The Gospels are also spread over those three years.  This being year two finds a heavy use of the Gospel of Mark. Mark is quite unique from the other synopic Gospels (Matthew andd Luke).  To bring to light some of the differences, I am writing a few blogs on the Gospel of Mark during 2018. I will try to have them to be near to the events we celebrate in our worship services. 

Blog - Gospel of Mark

Jesus’ Teaching Unique to Mark

Jesus’ Passion is the climax of the book of Mark. Mark races to this segment of his book.

Mark’s narrative of the Passion is similar to Matthew’s account. The Passion happenings reflect Peter being the source of Mark’s Gospel.

This is a vital aspect of Mark’s Gospel. It is well that a closer look at this week in Jesus’ life is done.

Palm Sunday (11:1-11)

Jesus rode on a colt (11:2) that had never been used which showed the sacredness of this action. Jesus went to the temple (outer court) and looked around and then went out to Bethany. Apparently Jesus spent His nights with His friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus.

Holy Week – Monday (11:12-19

The fig tree they passed was already full of leaves. A tree full of leaves normally should have fruit. But, this one was cursed because it had none. Perhaps this was a parable of judgment directed at Israel.

The temple area spoken of here was the court of the Gentiles. This was the only part of the temple in which Gentiles could worship God and gather for prayer. People coming for the Passover feast from a distance needed to buy animals for sacrifice and have their currency exchanged for the temple tax. This was well and good except that it should have taken place outside of the whole temple area.

Holy Week – Tuesday (12:1-13:37)

On the way into Jerusalem Jesus explains the meaning of the cursed fig tree. On getting to Jerusalem the religious leaders question Jesus authority for His Monday’s actions. In response Jesus, speaks many parables (over one-third of Jesus’s parables in Mark are spoken here). Jesus also mixes in many teachings beside the parables.

Holy Week – Wednesday (14:1-11)

On this day the religious authorities were plotting to arrest and kill Jesus. Jesus meanwhile was out in Bethany at a feast thrown by Simon the Leper. Not much is known about Simon except that he had probably been cured of Leprosy.

A woman identified from John 12:3 as Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus poured perfume on Jesus head. Anointing was a common custom at feasts. Mary’s action expressed her deep devotion to Jesus. This perfume had come from a plant in India and was very expensive. John identifies Judas as the one who grumbled about this being a waste of money.

This was also the day Judas agreed to betray Jesus.

Holy Week – Maundy Thursday (14:12-31)

This day begins with the making of preparations for the Passover meal. Jesus sends two of His disciples to make arrangements for a room where He and the disciples can celebrate the Passover meal.

On this evening Jesus institutes the Lord’s Supper. He also predicts Peter’s denials. In John’s Gospel (21:1-17) Jesus provides His disciples with an example of servanthood by washing their feet.

Holy Week – Good Friday (14:32-15:47)

“D Day” of World War II has often been called the “The Longest Day.” While indeed being a very long day of suffering and death for the soldiers involved, it pales in comparison to Good Friday and Jesus’ suffering and death.

For the Jews a day began at sunset. So with that in mind, Jesus’ suffering begins with His time in the Garden of Gethsemane including His arrest by temple police who were led to Gethsemane by Judas.

In verses 51-52 there is a notation unique to Mark. It is about a young man who flees naked when Jesus is arrested. That is youth is thought of as Mark himself. The linen garment suggests that he came from a wealthy family.

His trial before the Jewish religious leaders included many illegal procedures including witnesses brought in after they had condemned Jesus. And, they were lying and could not agree on their stories.

Jesus gets disowned by Peter and goes before Pilate where He is flogged and mocked by the Roman soldiers. And, finally Jesus dies. There is a video that has doctors discussing the physical and mental pain that Jesus suffered. The conclusion is that the suffering was so bad that it was possible to sweat blood. Indeed, no one has ever suffered like that before or since.

Holy Saturday

This was the Sabbath, a day of complete rest. In Western tradition, after sundown on Holy Saturday is the traditional time for Easter Vigil.

Easter Sunday (16:1-16)

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest victory ever! For Christians, every day is Easter.


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