Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Readings for April 17 2011

Wednesday night we come to the end of our midweek Lenten Worship services. These services have been a time to meditate and pray on the scriptures that were read. The last set of scriptures are Psalm 22:1-8, 14-18, 29-31 (or just read it all), Isaiah 52:13-53:12, and Matthew 27:45-66. For those who haven’t come to the Wednesday services and who haven’t read these scripture each week, but want to go back and read them all here is the list:

Psalms 64, 54, 82, and 22
Isaiah 42:1-9; 49:1-7, 50:4-11, and 52:13-53:12
Matthew 26:31 – 27:66

You may notice a lot of similarity between the Psalms and Isaiah with Matthew’s Passion Story.

This Sunday is Palm/Passion Sunday. Years ago the Sunday before Easter was only celebrated as Palm Sunday, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. That was a time when most Christians went to Good Friday services and heard the Passion story. Since many people no longer go to Good Friday Services the only chance to hear the Passion is on Palm Sunday. We celebrate the triumphant entry on Palm Sunday and the triumphant resurrection on Easter, but we really need to go through the valley of the shadow of death in between. What is the point of Easter if we don’t know what Jesus went through earlier? For Apostle Paul, who knew the living Christ, the Crucifixion was what was important to proclaim. “For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block (scandal) to Jews and foolishness to Greeks.” (1 Corinthians 1:22-23)

Here are the scripture for Palm/Passion Sunday with minimal comment:

Palm Sunday
Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 – Verse 22 is the most quoted OT verse in the NT and verse 26 is quoted as Jesus enters Jerusalem.

Matthew 21:1-11 – Humorous moment: verse 7 has Jesus sitting on both the colt and the donkey at the same time, perhaps a misunderstanding or a too literal reading of Zechariah 9:9.

Passion Sunday
Isaiah 50:4-9a – The third of four “Servant Songs” which probably ends with verse 11. Verse 6 is relevant to the Passion.

Psalm 31:9-16 – VERY relevant to the Passion as the Psalmist is in distress from his torment.

Philippians 2:5-11 – An ancient Christian song that Paul used? Notice the down and up movement in the verses. Christ gives up Godhood to become human and die on the cross. Then he is raised and exalted so we may all confess that Jesus is Lord.


Matthew 26:14-27:66 (the long Passion story) OR Matthew 27:11-54 (the short version). If we hear and know this story, did we really need the brutality and blood of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ”? All the disciples either betrayed, abandoned or denied Jesus. When have we done the same? Were the disciples any less guilty then the priests, scribes, Pharisees, and Romans? Are we?

A lot to read this week and a lot to think about. I pray you will be blessed in your reading.

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