The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream

NT Greek Lessons - Thursdays, 7 PM.

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Bente's Historical Introductions,
and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Palm Sunday - Christ Enters Jerusalem. Matthew 21:1-9



Palm Sunday, The Sixth Sunday in Lent, 2017


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                 

Christ's Entry as the Messiah


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.



Christ's Entry as the Messiah

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.

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.

All the Gospel lessons thus throw light first on faith and then on good works. We will therefore consider this Gospel under three heads: speaking first of faith; secondly of good works, and thirdly of the lesson story and its hidden meaning.

Luther consistently emphasized - the Gospel teaches faith first of all, then faith in action as Christian love shows compassion to all. Some people want to split off the second part and let that stand on its own. They claim the only purpose of the church is to change society and make the world a better place. So they take away the energy of the Gospel and replace it with good intentions. This comes from not listening to the message of Jesus and feeling embarrassed by the cross. Normally, these same people denounce the meaning of the cross and make up their own. In pretty words they say that Jesus was showing "solidarity with the poor" in being crucified (Social Gospel lectures, Rauschenbusch, Yale) - or being transparent so that God can be seen through Christ (Paul Tillich).

This royal entry is noteworthy for several reasons. One is that no one is afraid of this king. The disciples prepare a beast of burden, and the people praise God and confess Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of David. Normally, when a conqueror arrives, he is seated on a horse and the crowds cower, hoping he will be generous with their defeat.

The second reason is the raising of Lazarus, his good friend. As John shows, the crowds followed Jesus and Lazarus from Bethany - and surged out of Jerusalem to see them. That is why (John) the Jewish leaders plotted to kill both men, because Lazarus was proof of Jesus' divine power. That was the last major proof of His divine role, even though He raised two from the dead earlier. The last example was quite public, since Lazarus was rich and had a lot of friends and relatives. The raising of Lazarus was also spectacular, because he was already in his carved tomb for days before Jesus arrived in Bethany. Like the changing of water into wine in John's Gospel, this miracle could not be refuted in any way. 

So the ones In Jerusalem who knew about Lazarus rushed out of the city to see both men and praise Christ. Even small children praised Him, reminding us of infant faith and "You must believe as a child or you will not see the Kingdom of God."

So this was a conquest of the capital city in one sense. The Roman rules and Jewish leaders knew it. But it was a gracious and kindly victory, showing how the Savior would conquer death in His ministry in the future, starting with the imperfect apostles.

Only one disciple was left behind - Judas - because he had no faith. He believed in Jesus as a real warrior, so he did not see what was plainly presented to him, as so many behave today. He also decided to take matters into his own hand, showing that God does not permit man to be masters of history, especially when driven by unbelief and false belief. The modern, established denominations are like this, forcing their agenda on their congregations and making them pay for it, as if people will consume garbage and pay extra if it is gluten-free. The mainline denominations, which include the "conservative" Lutheran ones, are watching their seminaries collapse from lack of enrollment and high costs from the taxes paid (student loans) to pay exorbitant salaries to lazy, unbelieving professors.

Go into the village over against you,
Luther used this phrasing to teach His followers to go where the opposition is, not where things are easy. One pastor was alarmed by this and scolded me about prepositions. However, this is consistent with the unified message of the Scriptures, that the Gospel brings the cross. One proof-reader was troubled by how Luther taught this in another passage, but he was saying (as Chytraeus did) that this opposition is proof of Gospel truths being taught. The Reformation was a great era of Gospel publication and teaching, but it also ushered in a massive counter-effort by false teachers of all stripes (Zwingli, Calvin, Anabaptists, Church of Rome) and executions, exile, and punishment.

Human nature wants ease, praise, luxuries, and no opposition.  Satan loves that too, because people go to sleep, become lax, and allow falsehood to dominate. One reader said I upset her by showing the truth about UOJ. Now she is upset whenever someone teaches it. The clergy overcome this by raising an eyebrow and dismissing the issue by appealing to Rome or Mequon or Ft. Wayne. 
"Are you saying X is a false teacher?" 

GJ - "Are you saying your relative knows the Gospel better than Luther, the Concordists, and the Apostle Paul?" 

Opposition makes us studious, not comfortable. 

3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. 

This always impressed me as I was growing up. Jesus allowed the disciples to see that God would provide in a miraculous way, without Jesus being visibly present. This was one of their first experiences with being on their own and seeing how God provides.

The more we experience this, the more we trust in God rather than our own abilities. When we started this congregation in New Ulm, everything fell into place for a place to worship, then a property, then chairs, hymnals, and an organ. 

In recent efforts, the last few years, we have had just the right people help out, in art, proof-reading, etc. In either situation, no one would reasonably plan such impossible things, but they moved along with mysterious energy, strange twists, and little victories.

We do not have the clout to boast of thousands in the worship service, or trainloads of books being distributed. Each person who discovers the power of Biblical teaching from Luther is a victory worth more than a hundred mission starts.

The antagonism is just as significant as the little (but important) victories. One of the clearest signs is the official silence at so many levels. 

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. 

7. First he says: “Tell ye” the daughter of Zion. This is said to the ministry and a new sermon is given them to preach, namely, nothing but what the words following indicate, a right knowledge of Christ. Whoever preaches anything else is a wolf and deceiver. This is one of the verses in which the Gospel is promised of which Paul writes in Romans 1:2; for the Gospel is a sermon from Christ, as he is here placed before us, calling for faith in him.

Those who claim to know Luther, wear fancy robes, and foist their lectures upon everyone - they are the ones who work so hard against faith. Simply by retelling the royal entry into Jerusalem, we experience the trust built by the grace and gentle demeanor of Christ. The baby in Bethlehem did not frighten anyone at Christmas, and the Savior riding on a beast of burden does not make the crowd cower. Why were they cheering and praising Him as the Messiah?

They believed in the One who conquered death. They saw the visible proof, Lazarus walking with the group around Jesus. They all knew Lazarus, or had friends and relatives who did. This was not a rumor. They heard about the prominent man dying and being buried, with a typical long funeral service and gathering going on for days afterward. Lazarus also had a long sickness first, and yet Jesus delayed His arrival for this very reason. 

Some preachers always work on the crowds cheering and then jeering, which was very true. But more importantly, these witnesses were part of the thousands who later converted to Christ on the Day of Pentecost. The Scriptures illustrate for us that human reactions to the Gospel Word can be short-lived or attenuated by bad news, yet the implanted Word bears fruit, whether fruit for eternal life or the opposite.

Imagine those people who so gladly teach against the divinity of Christ, from their tenured position at endowed institutions of higher education, divinity schools and seminaries. Most of them probably started out as traditional believers. Something happened along the way to teach them rationalism. One Harvard educated professor began telling falsehoods he learned at a liberal clergy conference. I told him he was wrong, and he asked how he got it wrong. I said, "You went to Harvard. That is your problem." We had along conversation. He was becoming a conservative and soon was out of a job. I have no idea what happened later, but at least someone said, "Rationalistic bashing of the Gospel is factually wrong."



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.

Jesus went to the opposition and gave His message. Some are delighted and enjoy the whole concept of grace, forgiveness, and eternal life. But when the cross came next, some swore not to be associated with someone condemned. Others were crushed but listened to the disciples at Pentecost.

The disciples and the crowds honored Jesus and praised Him as the Messiah, the Son of David. Praise and thanksgiving come from faith in Him. If there is no praise and no thanks, then faith is diminishing or gone.

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.

Jesus was encircled by the eye-witnesses and the ear-witnesses of the raising of Lazarus. They had the unique experience of seeing the Savior coming as promised and someone raised from the dead with Him.

Once again, we see how God prepared everyone for the Gospel and the Resurrection of Christ. How could someone thoroughly dead be alive? They saw visible proof in Lazarus and soon they saw or heard about Jesus. Then it all fit together.

As I said before, Isaiah 53 is the Gospel of the Old Testament, but that was not apparent until the Atonement. Then that chapter in Isaiah became the Rosetta Stone for everything in the Old Testament. 

And also, the Atonement and Resurrection of Christ are together as the Rosetta Stone for believers. Everything should be seen in the light of His death for our sins, faith in this complete and free forgiveness, and His victory for us over death itself.

I found a used book about Paul Gerhardt (CPH) for only $1 on the Internet. It is a dissertation so the book has its own agenda about translations and so forth. But the book really struck me with the historical information. He lived during the horrors of the Thirty Years War so death, hardship, and destruction were everywhere and just seemed to last forever. Although his hymns are beautifully doctrinal, they are also full of comfort, peace, and Gospel forgiveness while addressing the many setbacks of life.

All the Gerhardt hymns from The Lutheran Hymnal
are linked here, words and melodies.