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So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As My Father has sent Me, even so I send you.” When He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven them. If you retain the sins of anyone, they are retained.” John 20:21-23 (Read John 20:19-23; Cf. Luke 24:46-47; Matt. 18:15-18.)

Jesus has fulfilled the Scriptures. He has suffered and died for the sins of all and is risen again! Now He gives to His church a mission — an assignment and duty. He said to His chosen disciples, “As My Father has sent Me, even so I send you.”

He gave to His disciples the Holy Spirit and a task to carry out — to preach “repentance and remission of sins” in Jesus’ name “to all nations,” beginning right where they were, in Jerusalem (Luke 24:46-47; cf. Matt. 28:16-20).

And God’s called ministers today are still to forgive the sins of those who repent and turn to Christ Jesus in faith and to retain the sins of those who do not repent. As Jesus says, “If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven them. If you retain the sins of anyone, they are retained.”

Jesus is not here giving to any person, or to a church, the power to forgive and retain sins according to their own whims or choosing. Rather, He gives to the church and its ministers the duty to preach and proclaim that all should repent and turn to Christ Jesus for forgiveness and life. To those who repent of their sins and turn to Jesus the church proclaims God’s mercy and forgiveness in Christ Jesus (cf. Psalm 32:1-5; John 8:11; 1 John 1:7 — 2:2). To those who are impenitent and continue on in their sinful ways the church, through its ministers, proclaims God’s wrath and punishment upon their sins! Cf. Matt. 18:15-18; John 8:24; Hebrews 10:26-31; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.

Thus, when God’s ministers rightly apply and proclaim God’s Word and counsel, forgiving the sins of penitent sinners and retaining the sins of the impenitent, their words are as certain and true as if God Himself had spoken them from His throne in heaven! Cf. Luther’s Small Catechism, explanation to the Office of the Keys.

What is genuine repentance? It is not simply going through the motions of acknowledging that we are sinners, asking God to forgive us, and then continuing on in our sinful ways (cf. Luke 3:7ff.)! Rather, it is acknowledging and sorrowing over our sinful ways, turning to Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice on the cross for forgiveness, and then (as a fruit of repentance) seeking God’s help and aid to amend our lives and live for Christ Jesus, who died for us and rose again (cf. 1 John 1:7—2:6; 2 Cor. 5:15, 17; Psalm 51).

God would have each of us live in continual repentance, examining ourselves in the light of God’s pure Word, being genuinely sorry for our sins and trusting in Jesus’ shed blood for forgiveness, and then continually seeking (in God’s strength) to live our lives according to God’s Word.

Are you genuinely repentant? If so, you are in Christ and have complete forgiveness for all your sins (cf. 1 John 1:7ff.). But if, on the other hand, you are unwilling to give up your sinful ways and turn to God for forgiveness and life in His Son, Jesus Christ, you remain dead in your sins and under God’s wrath and judgment! Cf. Mark 16:16.

Dearest Christ Jesus, we have sinned in thought, word and deed and have failed to live in accord with Your perfect will. Forgive us for the sake of Your holy and precious blood, shed for us upon the cross, and grant us Your Spirit and give us a genuine desire to please You always. Amen.

[Scripture is taken from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.]

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1 At the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And then there was a great earthquake. For the angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone from the door and sat on it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his garments white as snow. 4 The soldiers shook for fear of him and became like dead men. 5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid. For I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here. For He has risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead, and indeed, He is going before you to Galilee. There you will see Him. Listen, I have told you.” 8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word. 9 As they went to tell His disciples, suddenly Jesus met them, saying, “Greetings!” They came and took hold of His feet and worshipped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell My brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.” Matthew 28:1-10

It had been a painful week for the followers of Jesus. They followed Him as He rode into Jerusalem and was hailed as the Messiah and King of the Jews. They heard His words as He taught in the temple. They heard His laments and rebukes because of unbelief and heard of the judgments to come. They saw His anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane. They witnessed His trials, the horrors of His crucifixion and saw His lifeless body taken down from the cross and hastily laid in a nearby tomb before the sabbath day began.

Now, all that remained was to complete His burial before returning home. Jesus was dead. All His teaching about forgiveness of sins, the kingdom of God and eternal life in God’s kingdom was buried with Him in that tomb.

The Gospel of Luke tells us of the women (Luke 23:55 – 24:3): “The women who came with Him from Galilee followed, and saw the tomb and how His body was placed. Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath, they rested according to the commandment. Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb. But when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.”

For many today, Easter Sunday is a day to properly finish Jesus’ burial. Lent is over and we can now put Jesus’ sufferings and death behind us and move on to other things — at least for another year. It is a day to say His life and death have meaning and His legacy lives on in our hearts.

But Jesus wasn’t in the tomb! Instead, an angel was there and announced to the women: “Do not be afraid. For I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here. For He has risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”

And, as the women hurried to tell Jesus’ disciples the news, Jesus met them and greeted them. He was alive — not just in spirit, but bodily — they held his feet and worshiped Him.

His death was full payment for the sins of the world. God accepted the atoning sacrifice of His Son and raised Him up, proving that all who look to Jesus and His cross in faith are justified and forgiven (John 3:15-18; Rom. 4:23-25; 1 Cor. 15:17-20; 1 John 2:1-2).

Jesus truly is the Resurrection and the Life as He said to Martha in John 11:25-26: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, yet shall he live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.”

He lives and we shall live also (John 14:19; 1 Thess. 4:13-18). With Job, we can say: “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He will stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God, whom I will see for myself, and my eyes will behold, and not another” (Job 19:25-27).

All His words and teaching are indeed true! He shall reign forever and ever (Rev. 11:15) and all who trust in His name shall reign with Him in the new heavens and earth (Rev. 7:9-17; 21:1-7)!

Therefore, we come today not to eulogize Him in death but to celebrate His victory over sin, death and the devil for us, and to rejoice in the new and everlasting life He won for us by His death and glorious resurrection on the third day!

O crucified and risen Lord Jesus, grant that we might see and believe the message of the angel and rejoice in Your triumph over sin and death that we might have the certain hope of forgiveness for all our sins and life everlasting through faith in Your name. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.]

The strife is o’er, the battle done

Author: Francis Pott

The strife is o’er, the battle done;
The victory of life is won;
The song of triumph has begun: Alleluia!

The powers of death have done their worst;
But Christ their legions hath dispersed;
Let shouts of holy joy outburst: Alleluia!

The three sad days are quickly sped;
He rises glorious from the dead;
All glory to our risen Head! Alleluia!

He closed the yawning gates of hell;
The bars from heaven’s high portals fell;
Let hymns of praise His triumphs tell! Alleluia!

On the third morn He rose again,
glorious in majesty to reign.
O let us swell the joyful strain: Alleluia!

Lord, by the stripes which wounded Thee,
From death’s dread sting Thy servants free,
That we may live, and sing to Thee: Alleluia!

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“I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in security. For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You suffer Your godly one to see corruption. You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Psalm 16:8-11

As we consider Jesus’ sufferings and death for the sins of the world and His glorious resurrection from the dead on the third day, it is fitting to consider what this historical fact of Jesus’ resurrection, attested to by hundreds of witnesses (cf. 1 Cor. 15:3ff.; Mark 16:1ff.) means for each of us as believers, and Psalm 16 is one of many passages of God’s Word to consider.

After Jesus Christ suffered and died for the sins of the world, His body was laid in the tomb. But, as the psalm states, and Peter testified at the feast of Pentecost, and Paul at Pisidian Antioch, Jesus’ body was not left in the grave and did not see corruption and decay. Rather, His body was raised up to life again on the third day — a glorious and heavenly body — and was received up to the right hand of God the Father in heaven, where there are “pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16).

In Acts 2:22-33, we read: “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth was a man attested to you by God with powerful works and wonders and signs, which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves know. You have taken Him, who was handed over to you by the ordained counsel and foreknowledge of God, and by lawless hands have crucified and killed Him, whom God raised up by loosening the pull of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the Lord always before me, for He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will dwell in hope. For You will not abandon my soul to Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy with Your presence.’ Brothers, I may speak confidently to you concerning the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. But being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of his seed according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he foresaw this and spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. God raised up this Jesus, of which we all are witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured out this which you now see and hear.”

In Acts 13:34-39, we read: “That He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken in this way: ‘I will give You the holy and sure blessings of David’ [Isa. 55:3]. So He says in another Psalm: ‘You will not let Your Holy One see decay’ [Ps. 16]. For after David had served by the counsel of God in his own generation, he fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw decay. But He whom God raised up saw no decay. Therefore, brothers, let it be known to you that through this Man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by Him everyone who believes is justified from everything from which you could not be justified by the Law of Moses.”

So also, because Christ has died for us and is risen again, we who place our faith in Him have been justified and raised up to spiritual life in Christ Jesus and have the LORD God at our right hand to preserve and keep us — we shall not be moved. We have a glorious inheritance awaiting us in the promised land of heaven.

In Ephesians 2:4-7, we read: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and He raised us up and seated us together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

1 Peter 1:3-5 tells us: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance that does not fade away, kept in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

All who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and are baptized into His name are children of God and have an eternal inheritance awaiting them (cf. Gal. 3:26-29).

Because Christ has paid in full for all our sins and is risen again, our hearts, too, are glad; we trust in Him and rejoice in His mercy and forgiveness toward us.

Speaking of the blessings promised to Abraham, the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 4:23 — 5:2: “Now the words, ‘it was credited to him,’ were not written for his sake only, but also for us, to whom it shall be credited if we believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered for our transgressions, and was raised for our justification. Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and so we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

And, when we die, our bodies rest securely in hope — looking forward to that day when the dead in Christ are raised up with glorified bodies and will be forever with the Lord. Because Christ’s body saw no corruption but was raised up again on the third day, we can be certain that we too will be raised up and we shall see, in our resurrected and glorified bodies, our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 15:20ff.).

Job, thought to be a contemporary of Abraham and Isaac, said (in Job 19:25-27): “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He will stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God, whom I will see for myself, and my eyes will behold, and not another.”

And Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18: “But I would not have you ignorant, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and arose again, so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we shall be forever with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

Because of Christ’s death on the cross for the sins of the world, and because He rose again in victory, we have the confidence that we will be raised up in Christ’s likeness and that we will enjoy the pleasures which are at God’s right hand for evermore!

We, as believers, can say with David: “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied when I awake with Your likeness” (Psalm 17:15).

“Jesus lives! And now is death but the gate of life immortal; This shall calm my trembling breath when I pass its gloomy portal. Faith shall cry as fails each sense: Jesus is my confidence!” (Lutheran Service Book, Page 490, v. 5).

[Scripture is quoted from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.]

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15 Now at the feast, the governor was accustomed to releasing to the people a prisoner whom they chose. 16 They had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. 17 So when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you—Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew that they had handed Him over out of envy. 19 When he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous Man, for I have suffered much today in a dream on account of Him.” 20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and kill Jesus. 21 The governor answered, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” They said, “Barabbas.” 22 Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!” 23 The governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, “Let Him be crucified!” 24 When Pilate saw that he could not prevail, but rather that unrest was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this righteous Man. See to it yourselves.” 25 Then all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” 26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But when he had scourged Jesus, he handed Him over to be crucified. 27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium, and gathered the whole detachment of soldiers before Him. 28 They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him, 29 and when they wove a crown of thorns, they put it on His head and put a staff in His right hand. They knelt before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 They spit on Him, and took the staff and hit Him on the head. 31 After they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own garments on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him. Matthew 27:15-31

After examining Jesus, Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, knew that He was not guilty of any crime — especially not of a crime deserving of death. Even Pilate’s wife knew that Jesus was innocent and begged Pilate to have nothing to do with the condemnation of Jesus. And so, in an attempt to appease the Jews and release Jesus, Pilate offered to do according to his custom at the Passover and pardon and release one prisoner to the people.

Matthew tells us in verses 15-18 of our text: “Now at the feast, the governor was accustomed to releasing to the people a prisoner whom they chose. They had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. So when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you — Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew that they had handed Him over out of envy.

The choice seemed obvious. Barabbas was a notorious prisoner who was a robber, a rebel, and had committed murder in the rebellion (cf. John. 18:40; Mark 15:6-7; Luke 23:). Jesus’ alleged crime was His claim to be the Messiah, the true Son of God and the King of a spiritual kingdom made up of all who hear and believe His words.

We read in Luke 23:13-19: “Pilate called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, ‘You have brought this Man to me as one who incites the people. And truly, I, having examined Him before you, have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him. No, neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing worthy of death has been done by Him. I will therefore chastise Him and release Him.’ For he was obligated to release one man to them at the feast. But they all cried out at once saying, ‘Take this Man away and release Barabbas to us!’ This man had been thrown in prison for an insurrection in the city and for murder. Therefore Pilate spoke to them again, desiring to release Jesus. But they cried out, ‘Crucify Him! Crucify Him!’”

If you were in the crowd outside the Praetorium on that first Good Friday and you heard these words of the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, offering to release unto you either Jesus or Barabbas, what would you say? Would you ask that Jesus, who was innocent and without sin, who claimed to be the very Son of God, be released unto you? Or would you join the crowd in asking for Barabbas?

And, what would you say after the crowd asked for Barabbas and Pilate asked what he should do with Jesus, who is called Christ? Would you join the crowd in crying out of Jesus, “Let Him be crucified”?

We say we would not but, if we remember why Jesus was crucified and condemned, we must admit that every time we sin, we do say of Jesus, “Crucify Him!” When we sin, we add to the burden of His cross!

Now, if you were Barabbas, in a prison cell and chains, expecting to die for your crimes, what would you do if the soldiers came and set you free — if they told you that you had been pardoned by the governor and were free because an innocent man by the name of Jesus was being crucified in your stead? How would you feel?

Isn’t this exactly what has happened to each and every one of us? We are guilty of sin — we have broken God’s Law and are guilty of insurrection (rebellion) against God Himself! Which commandments have we not broken? We deserve to be condemned by God to the eternal fires of hell which He prepared for the devil and his evil angels!

But what has happened? God’s word of the Gospel has been proclaimed to us — we have been told that God punished His own dear Son, Jesus Christ, in our stead — that Jesus suffered upon the cross the full and just punishment for all our sins, the punishment that we deserved (cf. Isa. 53:4-6).

In Galatians 3:10,13, we read: “For all who rely on the works of the law are under the curse. For it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the Book of the Law, to do them.’ … Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by being made a curse for us — as it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.’”

And, in 2 Corinthians 5:21, we read: “God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Instead of condemning us to the eternal fires of hell which we deserve, God instead reaches out to us in mercy and offers and gives to us pardon and forgiveness for all our sins. He offers and gives to us eternal life instead of death and eternal damnation because Jesus Christ, His own dear Son, suffered our punishment for us!

Now, we don’t know for certain what happened to Barabbas after this, but we might just consider a couple of hypothetical possibilities. What if Barabbas had rejected Pilate’s offer of pardon and forgiveness? What if he had said, “I want to be tried and judged on my own merits”? There seems to be little doubt but that he would be condemned and probably put to death — possibly even on a cross.

What if he accepted his pardon, walked out of his prison cell and went back out robbing and killing and rebelling against the Roman Government? Would he not be arrested again and condemned for his new crimes?

What about us? Christ died for our sins and rose again and God reaches out to us with His offer of pardon and forgiveness, calling upon us to repent and look in faith to Christ Jesus and His cross. What if we say, “No, thanks. I will stand before the judgment seat of God on my own merit”? The Bible is quite clear. If we refuse to accept God’s pardon through faith in Christ, we stand condemned for our sins and will be punished because we did not believe in the name of God’s only begotten Son and our Savior.

As John 3:16-18 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned. But he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

And, what if we accept God’s pardon but then use our gift of freedom to intentionally continue on in our sinful ways? Will we not be judged and condemned of God for continuing to rebel against Him?

The Scriptures leave no question about the end result. Hebrews 10:26-29 says: “For if we willfully continue to sin after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation, which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who despised Moses’ law died without mercy in the presence of two or three witnesses. How much more severe a punishment do you suppose he deserves, who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded the blood of the covenant that sanctified him to be a common thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?”

It is true that we by our sins are guilty of the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. With the crowd on Good Friday, we by our sins say of Jesus, “Let Him be crucified!”

But because Jesus went to the cross for us, we, who are guilty like Barabbas, have God’s gracious offer of pardon and forgiveness through faith in Christ Jesus! When we trust in Christ, God graciously forgives our sins against Him, and He offers and gives to us everlasting life with Him in heaven.

Let us give thanks to our Savior for bearing upon the cross the guilt and punishment for our sins that we might be acquitted and partake of the everlasting blessings of heaven through faith in Jesus’ name. And, let us use our lives here in this world to the praise and glory of Him who has redeemed us and set us free.

Oh, dearest Jesus, we thank and praise You for bearing upon the tree of the cross the guilt and punishment for all our sins that we might be pardoned and forgiven through faith in Your name. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.]

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On the next day a great crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. They took branches of palm trees, and went out to meet Him, and cried out: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ The King of Israel!” Then Jesus, having found a young donkey, sat on it. As it is written: “Fear not, daughter of Zion; see, your King is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt.” His disciples did not understand these things at first. But when Jesus was glorified, they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him. Now the crowd that was with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead bore witness. The crowd went and met Him for this reason: They heard that He had performed this sign. So the Pharisees said among themselves, “See, you are gaining nothing! Look, the world has followed Him!” John 12:12-19

Do you know what Palm Sunday and the events of that day are all about? Yes, you may know what happened on that day — how Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt and was hailed King of the Jews, but why? What does it all mean?

If you don’t know, you’re not alone. Jesus’ own disciples didn’t understand these things until after Jesus had risen from the dead and was glorified. As John writes, “But when Jesus was glorified, they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.”

What was written about Jesus? From the Book of Zechariah, we see the ancient prophecy: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! And cry aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king is coming to you; he is righteous and able to deliver, he is humble and riding on a donkey, a colt, the offspring of a donkey” (Zech. 9:9).

We see these very words fulfilled; the people shouted words of praise to Jesus as the Messiah and Savior of Israel. They hailed Him as their King. And, Jesus was riding upon a donkey’s colt, just as the prophecy said and similar to the way King Solomon was made known as the king of Israel (cf. 1 Kings 1:32ff.).

And what did they cry out? John tells us (in verse 13) the multitude cried out: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ The King of Israel!” In Matthew 21:9, we read: “The crowds that went before Him and that followed Him cried out: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’”

Compare that to the words of Psalm 118:19ff. In verses 25-26, the psalm says: “Save us [Hebrew: hosia-na], we ask You, O LORD; O LORD, we ask You, send now success. Blessed be he that comes in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.”

Hosanna, which is a call to the LORD to save now, together with the references to Son of David, King of Israel and He who comes in the name of the LORD, is an acclamation of Jesus as the Messiah and promised Savior who would save His people and establish an everlasting kingdom, a fulfillment of the promise made to David in 2 Samuel 7:16, where God said: “Your house and dominion will endure before Me forever, and your throne will be established by the LORD forever.”

This promise is spoken of again in Psalm 89:3-4: “You have said, ‘I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn to David my servant: “Your offspring I will establish forever, and build up your throne for all generations.”’”

Thus, the events of Palm Sunday were a declaration that Jesus is the long-promised Messiah, the Son of David and King of Israel who would save His people and establish an everlasting kingdom.

The people were calling upon Jesus to save them as God had promised. He was the one who would “redeem Israel from all their iniquities” (Psalm 130:8). And, this, just days before He was crucified and died for the sins of the world to provide that promised salvation!

And we too cry out: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ The King of Israel!” We pray that He would usher in the day of our salvation — the salvation he won for us upon Calvary’s cross.

We long for Him to come again and enter into the gates of the New Jerusalem and establish His everlasting kingdom and be our God and King forevermore! Cf. Phil. 2:5ff.; Rev. 7:9ff.; 19:11ff.; 21:1ff.; 21:22ff.

Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the Highest! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! We praise You, Christ Jesus our Savior, and pray that You would come and establish Your everlasting kingdom and reign over us as our God and King. Amen.

Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come; Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you; the LORD lift His countenance upon you, and give you peace. Amen.

[Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.]

All Glory, Laud, and Honor

Refrain: All glory, laud, and honor to You, Redeemer, King,
To whom the lips of children made sweet hosannas ring.

1 You are the King of Israel and David’s royal Son,
Now in the Lord’s name coming, our King and Blessèd One.

Refrain

2 The company of angels is praising You on high,
And we with all creation in chorus make reply.

Refrain

3 The multitude of pilgrims with palms before You went;
Our praise and prayer and anthems before You we present.

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4 To You before Your passion they sang their hymns of praise;
To You, now high exalted, our melody we raise.

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5 As You received their praises, accept the prayers we bring,
O Source of ev’ry blessing, our good and gracious King.

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Theodulf of Orléans, c. 762–821; tr. John Mason Neale, 1818–66, alt. Public domain VALET WILL ICH DIR GEBEN

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