Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday, Year B: Mark 14:1-15:47: Expanding the Kingdom

Palm Sunday

Source: iStockphoto.com

You can see all the lectionary readings for the Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday, Year B by clicking here. I have chosen to discuss the passage from the Gospel of Mark.

Today’s lesson is a very long one, so I think I’ll focus just on one part.

Then Jesus cried out loudly and died.

When Jesus died, the curtain in the Temple was torn into two pieces. The tear started at the top and tore all the way to the bottom.

Mark 15:37-38 (Easy-to-Read Version)

So much of Jesus’ ministry was the expansion of the Kingdom of God. He was always reaching out and inviting people in. He despised following strict statutes at the expense of helping people (for instance, he healed on the Sabbath). He associated with sinners and tax collectors (those marginalized and despised by “respectable” people). He talked to women in ways other men of his time did not. He was constantly expanding the invitation of God’s love. And at his death the Temple curtain was torn in half. The temple curtain symbolized the separation between God and humanity and Jesus. In Christ there is no separation; we are all drawn to God. As we learned in last week’s lesson–when Jesus is lifted up he draws all men to him.

Year A: Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday: Philippians 2:5-11

Philippian's

Philippians –  Source: iStockphoto.com/tracygood1

I am late getting this online, because of some traveling and some sick kids.

You can see all the lectionary readings for the Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday by clicking here.  I have chosen to take a different tack this week and discuss the Epistle of the Liturgy of the Word, which is Philippians 2:5-11.

This is a lovely passage from Paul’s letter to the Philippians. He begins with a call to unity and to being like Christ Jesus—“In your life together, think the way Christ Jesus thought.” He explains that Jesus gave up everything, even being with God, to come to us in human form. He was humble and obedient to god, making himself like a servant (common theme in the New Testament—the last shall be first and the first shall be last). And then God raised him up and “gave him the name that is greater than any other name” so that all would bow down to honor him.

They will all confess, “Jesus Christ is Lord,”
and this will bring glory to God the Father.

I like this exhortation to be like Jesus—to think like Jesus. It reminds me of the “What Would Jesus Do?” movement of years ago. It was corny and overused, I think particularly in evangelical churches, but it had a good point to it. Of course, we all fail and no one can be completely Christ-like, but it’s a good way to stop and evaluate how we’re living and whether we are following God’s will. Sometimes it’s obvious when we are not in God’s will or doing as Jesus would do—when we are doing something that would hurt someone else, whether physically or otherwise. Other times it can be a gray area. For instance, I had guilt about not getting this Palm Sunday post in before Palm Sunday—and it is one of the most important holy days of the Christian year. However, I recognize that I also must take care of my own children and I don’t think it is right to skip valuable family together-time to catch up on a blog. I had to make that choice and for me it was the right choice. If I asked, “What Would Jesus Do?” in that instance, I would remember how he wanted the little children to come to him, when the disciples thought he had better things to do, or how he praised Mary for stopping to listen to him while her sister Martha fussed that Mary should be helping her with her housework.

What will you do today to be in God’s will and do what Jesus would do? How will you confess, “Jesus Christ is Lord,” and bring glory to God the Father?