The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

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Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Martin Chemnitz Press Books

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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Palm Sunday, 2016. Matthew 21:1-9



Palm Sunday, The Sixth Sunday in Lent, 2016


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




The Hymn #160         All Glory, Laud             
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual          
The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 162                 Ride On                 

The Messiah Who Raises the Dead


The Communion Hymn # 42            O Thou Love  
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #341                Crown Him with Many Crowns                          

KJV Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

KJV Matthew 21:1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, 2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. 3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. 4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. 6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, 7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. 8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

Palm Sunday

Almighty and everlasting God, who hast caused Thy beloved Son to take our nature upon Himself, that He might give all mankind the example of humility and suffer death upon the cross for our sins: Mercifully grant us a believing knowledge of this, and that, following the example of His patience, we may be made partakers of the benefits of His sacred passion and death, through the same, Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.



The Messiah Who Raises the Dead

KJV Matthew 21:1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,

1. In the preface I said that there are two things to be noted and considered in the Gospel lessons: first, the works of Christ presented to us as a gift and blessing on which our faith is to cling and exercise itself; secondly, the same works offered as an example and model for us to imitate and follow.

Luther's introduction to this Gospel lesson is familiar to those who read his sermons, and they are something to remember for all sermons. The world has long acknowledged that Luther is the best expositor of the Bible, period. So we should, as Lutherans, or as Christians, as Protestants or even as questioning Catholics, pay attention to the best, since the worst are so abundant.

Nothing strengthens faith more than hearing the Gospel lessons. They often turn on difficulties of our daily life, such as doubt, temptation, and questions about God. If the issues are addressed in the sermon, the listeners are strengthened and encouraged. 

The great thing about historic worship (now considered antique and useless) is the system of lessons, the liturgy, and the Creeds, plus good hymns that express the Christian faith. All that will supplement the sermon and make up for a sermon that is missing entirely because the yahoo listened to failed pastors in the seminary teaching faculty and decided to coach everyone into success, happiness, and "wealth" as Mark Jeske whispered in a covetous gasp.

The Gospel of John supplements this account in several ways. Matthew sets up the Biblical prophesies being fulfilled, but John explains the details of Palm Sunday. First of all, Jesus raised Lazarus, a prominent rich man (he had a tomb), from the dead. Lazarus was not only dead, but so far from life that Jesus was warned away from the tomb. Showing His human nature, He wept.

But then Jesus called Lazarus out of the tomb, from death to life with the power of His Word. Lazarus arose and came out in his burial clothes. Therefore, Lazarus followed Jesus to Jerusalem, not far away. And the funeral crowd followed him. Word got out and the citizens came out to see this wonder.

The raising of Lazarus fueled the anxiety of the Jewish and Roman leaders. The hostility was already so great that Thomas feared they would all die in Jerusalem, and little wonder. The Romans were not shy about torturing their opponents to death.

They plotted against Jesus and Lazarus, the evidence of Jesus' divinity.

John 12
Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 11 for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.

Because of Jesus raising Lazarus, many of the Jews began believing in Jesus. And that is the purpose of the Gospels, the entire Bible, to foster complete trust in God's only-begotten Son, Jesus.

 2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. 3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.

The pastoral failures who teach in Lutheran colleges and seminaries think that success means conforming to this world. But Luther saw this verse as going into the opposition and facing it, transforming it with the Word of the Gospel. The Elector had to kidnap Luther to preserve the Reformer's life, after he said, "Here I stand." Thirteen years later, Luther was back in a castle, protected while the Augsburg Confession was being presented - 1530. So strange that a Confession that cost so many their lives is not read or followed by Lutherans today.

So wise guys will say, "This is not literally go to the village in opposition," and that is true. But the example of Jesus is clear. Jerusalem was against Him before He entered. By raising Lazarus and gathering a crowd, He increased that opposition to the breaking point. Jesus went into the place against Him and changed all of human history with the crucifixion and resurrection. 

4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. 

Matthew roots the Gospel in Old Testament fulfillment. That is the strength of his Gospel. Many pretended to be the Messiah. The Maccabeean king rode in on a donkey and palm branches were spread before him, but he was not the promised Messiah. Several revolts came after Jesus, and they were led by fake messiahs, as Jesus predicted would happen in Mark 13.  But only One fulfilled all the prophesies.

Any Berean (student of the Bible) can look over the Old Testament prophets and see how they are fulfilled in the ministry of Jesus. This inspires and strengthens faith.

8. I have often said that there are two kinds of faith. First, a faith in which you indeed believe that Christ is such a man as he is described and proclaimed here and in all the Gospels, but do not believe that he is such a man for you, and are in doubt whether you have any part in him and think:

Yes, he is such a man to others, to Peter, Paul, and the blessed saints; but who knows that he is such to me and that I may expect the same from him and may confide in it, as these saints did?


9. Behold, this faith is nothing, it does not receive Christ nor enjoy him, neither can it feel any love and affection for him or from him. It is a faith about Christ and not in or of Christ, a faith which the devils also have as well as evil men. For who is it that does not believe that Christ is a gracious king to the saints? This vain and wicked faith is now taught by the pernicious synagogues of Satan. The universities (Paris and her sister schools), together with the monasteries and all Papists, say that this faith is sufficient to make Christians. In this way they virtually deny Christian faith, make heathen and Turks out of Christians, as St. Peter in 2 Peter 2:1 had foretold: “There shall be false teachers, who shall privily bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master that bought them.”

10. In the second place he particularly mentions, “The daughter of Zion.” In these words he refers to the other, the true faith. For if he commands that the following words concerning Christ be proclaimed, there must be some one to hear, to receive, and to treasure them in firm faith. He does not say: Tell of the daughter of Zion, as if some one were to believe that she has Christ; but to her you are to say that she is to believe it of herself, and not in any wise doubt that it will be fulfilled as the words declare. That alone can be called Christian faith, which believes without wavering that Christ is the Savior not only to Peter and to the saints but also to you.

Your salvation does not depend on the fact that you believe Christ to be the Savior of the godly, but that he is a Savior to you and has become your own.

11. Such a faith will work in you love for Christ and joy in him, and good works will naturally follow. If they do not, faith is surely not present; for where faith is, there the Holy Ghost is and must work love and good works.

12. This faith is condemned by apostate and rebellious Christians, the pope, bishops, priests, monks, and the universities. They call it arrogance to desire to be like the saints. Thereby they fulfill the prophecy of Peter in 2 Peter 2:2, where he says of these false teachers: “By reason of whom the way of the truth shall be evil spoken of.” For this reason, when they hear faith praised, they think love and good works are prohibited. In their great blindness they do not know what faith, love and good works are. 

Faith and good works are the twin themes of the Bible emphasized by Luther in all his sermons, and we should pay attention to these themes.
  1. Faith embraces Christ and His forgiveness of sin, and salvation through Him alone, apart from works or merit. This is the theme of the entire Bible and God's Word works to keep this firmly before us at all times. Those who oppose this are enemies of the Word, no matter how pious they appear. Remember that Jesus' opponents were not atheists but Pharisees who held their holiness through works before everyone and practiced the strictest notions of the Law.
  2. Good works follow from forgiveness and salvation, so lacking good works is a definite sign of no faith, no repentance. A hardened heart cannot receive or appreciate the forgiveness of sin through faith in Christ, because of God's grace. The brutal treatment of pastors and laity by the Lutheran synodical leaders is proof they have no faith. The covering up of crimes is additional proof they lack faith entirely even if they parade themselves like Pharisees and brag endlessly about themselves.
We see Jesus as an example in this lesson, which is part 3 of the Gospel themes - faith, good works following faith, Jesus as an example to follow. He knew what He was facing, far more terrible than anything we can imagine, since it was not only the beatings and torture, but the abandonment of almost everyone. And yet, He faced the crowds cheering that would soon be jeering.

6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, 7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.

The disciples in faith did as they were told. Although their faith seemed weak and flickering at times, it was the start. We cannot look down on their failings, since we are no different. Our emotions, like fear and anxiety, can make faith fly out the window, so we are just as fragile as the disciples in the storm-tossed boat, even though we are not in a churning inky blackness.

That is important to realize, since the reality is not so important as our fragile and volatile feelings at the moment. We could say, "The reality was Jesus in the boat with them. No storm could do anything with Him there." But that is the reality for us too. The Word bring Jesus to us. The Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts through the planting of Gospel and the nurturing from the Means of Grace.

 8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

The public demonstration of Jesus as the Messiah is so important for all of Passion Week. They saw the proof, the risen Lazarus, who was a forerunning of the Risen Christ. They cheered and believed, if only for a time. We know from Acts that thousands would convert to faith in Him. 

It was easier to believe in Jesus as the divine Son of God healer. To believed in Him as the crucified Messiah was another step, one already in their hearts through Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22.

94. There is reason why palm branches and olive branches are mentioned.

They signify what is to be confessed, preached and believed concerning Christ. It is the nature of the palm tree that when used as a beam, it yields to no weight but rises against the weight. These branches are the words of divine wisdom; the more they are suppressed, the higher they rise. This is true if you firmly believe in those words. There is an invincible power in them, so that they may well be called palm branches, as St. Paul says in Romans 1:16: “The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth;” and as Christ says, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18. Death, sin, hell and all evil must bend before the divine Word, or only rise, when it sets itself against them.

95. Olive branches are named, because they are words of grace, in which God has promised us mercy. They make the soul meek, gentle, joyful, as the oil does the body. The gracious Word and sweet Gospel is typified in Genesis 8:11, where the dove in the evening brought in her mouth an olive branch with green leaves into the ark, which means, that the Holy Spirit brings the Gospel into the Church at the end of the world by the mouth of the apostles. “And the multitudes that went before him, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.”

96. For this reason they carried palm trees before kings and lords, when they had gained a victory and celebrated their triumph. Again, the carrying of palm branches was a sign of submission, especially of such as asked for mercy and peace, as was commonly done among ancient people.

By their pomp before Christ they indicated that they would receive him as their Lord and King, sent by God as a victorious and invincible Savior, showing themselves submissive to him and seeking grace from him. Christ should be preached and made known in all the world, as the victorious and invincible King against sin, death and the power of the devil and all the world for those who are oppressed and tormented, and as a Lord with whom they shall find abundant grace and mercy, as their faithful Priest and Mediator before God.

The word of the Gospel concerning this King is a word of mercy and grace, which brings us peace and redemption from God, besides invincible power and strength, as St. Paul in Romans 1:16 calls the Gospel “a power of God unto salvation” and “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” as Christ says in Matthew 16:18.

97. Paul says, Hebrews 13:8: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yea, forever.” All who will be saved from the beginning to the end of the world, are and must be Christians and must be saved by faith.

Therefore Paul says, 1 Corinthians 10:3-4: “Our fathers did all eat the same spiritual food; and did all drink the same spiritual drink.” And Christ says in John 8:56: “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it and was glad.”

98. Hence the multitudes going before signify all Christians and saints before Christ’s birth; those who follow signify all the saints after the birth of Christ. They all believed in and adhered to the one Christ. The former expected him in the future, the latter received him as the one who had come. Hence they all sing the same song and praise and thank God in Christ. Nor may we give anything else but praise and thanks to God, since we receive all from him, be it grace, word, work, Gospel, faith and everything else. The only true Christian service is to praise and give thanks, as Psalm 50:15 says: “Call upon me in the day of trouble, I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.”