The Hour Is at Hand
April 5, 2020

Palm Sunday begins with unbridled joy as we recall how Jesus entered
Jerusalem riding on a donkey, while being acclaimed by the crowds with loud
shouts of “Hosanna” and boisterous waving of palm branches. But then the
solemnness of Holy Week also begins. As foretold by prophets long ago,
Jesus was stricken and afflicted, beaten and spit upon, crucified, and He died.
He did this out of divine love for all of humanity, taking on Himself the sins of
all people for our forgiveness. At times we experience unbridled joy and
celebration. And then, sometimes in the next moment, we experience
heartbreaking suffering. Jesus is there with us—in the joyful celebrations, in
the heartbreak and suffering. He alone can transform it all into deeper love for
God and neighbor. The hour of Jesus’ death on the cross is the hour of our
life and salvation.

“Ride On, Ride On, in Majesty” [LSB 441]
1. Ride on, ride on in majesty!
Hark! All the tribes hosanna cry.
O Savior meek, pursue Thy road,
With palms and scattered garments strowed.

2. 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.

3. Ride on, ride on in majesty!
The angel armies of the sky
Look down with sad and wond'ring eyes
To see the approaching sacrifice.

4. Ride on, ride on in majesty!
Thy last and fiercest strife is nigh.
The Father on His sapphire throne
Awaits His own anointed Son.

5. 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 pow'r, and reign.

Your love, O Father God, is seen most clearly in the suffering, death, and
resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Transform us by Your self-giving love
to follow the servant way of Jesus, until that day when He comes again in
glory, through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You
and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Matthew 21:1-11
Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount
of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village
in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her.
Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, you shall
say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” 4 This took place
to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 “Say to the daughter of
Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt,  the foal of a beast of burden.’” 6 The disciples went and did as
Jesus had directed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and put on
them their cloaks, and he sat on them. 8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks
on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the
road. 9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were
shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the
name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when he entered
Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the
crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

Sometimes we see only what we want to see. Adam and Eve saw that the fruit
on the tree looked good so it must be okay. People saw Noah building an Ark
but how could there possibly be a flood that would need a boat like that. We
make plans and we expect those plans to go as expected.  We think we have
control over our world and we know what is coming next. What is currently
happening is totally unexpected.  Not being in church during holy week, who
could have planned for that? The same occurs in Jerusalem.  The people
welcomed Jesus like a king.  They would not want to see where this was going
to go.  The hint was there.  He came in riding on a donkey.  He came to them
like a servant.  He came to die for them.
One day Jesus was explaining to His disciples that he was going to die and
three days later rise from the dead. Peter would not see things the way Jesus
described them. “And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying,
“Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” (Matthew 16:22)  
Did the people on Palm Sunday want to see Jesus as a servant come to die
for them to pay for their sins?  What causes us to see only what we want to
see?  Jesus’ response to Peter reveals a great deal. “But he turned and said
to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not
setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
(Matthew 16:23)  We need to see things the way God presents them to us so
we can see clearly.  Jesus spoke plainly, “the Son of Man came not to be
served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
(Matthew 20:28)
Jesus served us by paying the price of our sin on the cross.  We receive that
forgiveness through the faith we have been given by the power of the Holy
Spirit and the Word of God.  We have been released from only seeing what
we want to see to what we need to see. The love God is given to us
regardless of situation or circumstance.  Jesus’ service releases us to serve.  
Jesus’ words say as much. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love
one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By
this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one
another.” (John 13:34-35)

Lord’s Prayer
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name,
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven;
give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you.
The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace.           
Numbers 6:24–26

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Devotion 4/5/2020