Palm Sunday is important. It’s the day that we remember Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It’s the beginning of what Christians call, “Holy Week” – a week that began with celebration and ended with Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. On that day long ago, Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last time. Many times before, He had entered the city quietly, but this time when He entered, the Jews thought their long awaited Messiah, king, and rescuer had arrived, so they celebrated by cheering, dancing, and yelling out shouts of “Hosanna in the Highest!” The people were right that Jesus was their Messiah, king, and rescuer, but they were wrong in what His rule, reign, and rescue would look like – and for that, they killed him by the end of the week.
Palm Sunday is profound. It’s profound because what God did that day by presenting Jesus as King, He does every time God’s people gather together for worship. This is why our Sunday worship service is SO VITAL to our spiritual lives. The worship of God is the highest purpose of mankind. It’s the reason for our existence. It’s why we have breath and life. So, if God presents Jesus as King when His people gather together for worship like He did that first Palm Sunday, then we MUST make gathering for worship a priority. Every element of our worship service is designed to present Christ as King. Some ask why we have moved to a more liturgical worship style, and the answer is that we feel like the elements of our worship service best place before us the truth and reality that Christ is our King. The Scripture recited during our Call to Worship, the Scripture songs we sing, the kneeling during confession, the promise of the assurance of Christ’s pardon of our sin, the corporate prayer, the proclamation of the Word through preaching, entering into communion together, and the Scripture and challenge of the benediction – all these elements recognize Christ as King and place this reality before all of us every time we gather.
Palm Sunday teaches us about how to worship. When Jesus was presented as King on that day, His disciples responded with enthusiastic worship. Luke 19:37-38 says that “the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!'” When we gather, do we come even thinking about rejoicing and praising God with a loud voice? When God presents His Son as King when we gather every Sunday, are you ready to go? When the Call to Worship is read, are you ready to respond? When the songs begin, are you ready to sing? When it’s time for confession, are you ready to admit your failings? When the Assurance of Pardon is read, are you ready to thank God? Are you ready to pray when our prayer time comes? Are you ready to hear the Scripture when it’s read and attentively listen when it’s preached? Are you ready to remember and celebrate when we take communion? And are you ready to go and live for Christ and proclaim His glory when we leave?
May we prepare ourselves for worship every week, and when God presents His Son to us as King, may we be ready to respond enthusiastically, sincerely, and with great joy.